Archive for July, 2012


My next race, the inaugural Tower of Terror race, is less than 2 months away. And the Goofy is about 4 1/2 months from now. So it’s a good time for a training update and a race plan update for both events. Although not a Disney event, I’m also running a local half marathon the weekend after Tower of Terror.
The good news:
I have not missed a training run since I started my ecoaching program. That alone is a huge success! Tomorrow will be a little tricky since i have early morning OR and a work dinner that I can’t miss. But I can always find time on Wednesday and move my Thursday run to Friday. This past weekend was a cutback week. Only 3 miles scheduled. I did 3.77 miles in 47 min, including a personal best 9:22 minute Magic Mile. Using a “perfect race conditions” estimate by Mr. Galloway, that predicts a half marathon finish of 2:27:15 and a full marathon of 5:19:02! Obviously none of my upcoming races will be under ideal conditions (my next half marathon is one weekend after my 10 miler and my next full marathon is one day after a half marathon). I do think I can hope for a PR (personal record) for my marathon, even if it is a part of the Goofy.
I’m feeling really excited about my training. I love having a plan for each run. I’m not just running for the sake of running. I have drills to do and things to work on. I really needed that! I find it focusing me and gives me more motivation.
I also purchased a running “costume” for the half marathon (and possibly the Tower of Terror race, unless I find a great Halloween-themed running skirt). In deference to my 4 year old son who plans to marry Ariel, I’m wearing a pseudo-Ariel outfit. Shiny green running skirt with green Zensah calf sleeves. Purple sports bra to mimic sea-shells with a white mesh running shirt on top (thank you to my 6 year old daughter for figuring out the top half of my outfit in a way that didn’t require my 40 year old midriff to hang out!). I’m exciting to have fun, (For the marathon I may go with more traditional running clothing because it’s the race I care most about and I want to be comfortable. Or I’ll see what strikes my fancy as the date approaches.)
The not-so-good news:
My pacing. It’s not-so-good. For my recent Magic Mile my 1st lap was 2:08. Then 2:20. The 2:30. And finally 2:24. So much for negative splits. My last long runs was 9 miles. I should be at 14+ min/mile. My first mile was 13:22. I tried to slow down. 2nd mile 13:30. I finished pretty strong with only mild soreness. But I was complete toast for the rest of the day. Cranky. Exhausted. No energy. The endorphins only last a short while and then I crash. This is not what Jeff Galloway wants to happen. And it’s definitely not what my family wants. Especially nice I’m not even up to the double digit mileage yet.
After sending my training report to Mr. Galloway, he wants me to SLOW DOWN my long runs. And so he’s lowering my run/walk ratio. Which is super frustrating to me. My competitive side thinks going fast is good. But my rational side knows that I’m going to get injured. Or my family will forbid me from running more marathons if every long run wipes me out. It is so counter-intuitive for me to run even less and walk more. It kills me. But I keep telling myself that I paid this man $$$ to train me. And I don’t like feeling wiped out all day. My family deserves a functional me on the weekends. And I really don’t want an injury. So walk more and slow down it is.
A wise man explained that marathon training has 2 parts: endurance and speed. The purpose of e long run is to gain endurance. The ability to have forward momentum after 26.2 miles. Endurance doesn’t require speed. In fact the long SLOW training run forces the trainee to run longer (not farther distance but for a longer time) than the actual event. Speed comes for short distance “sprints” and strength. Half mile repeats. Cadence drills to increase foot turnover. Hill repeats to create strong legs. Acceleration-gliders to allow forward movement without energy input. That’s the purpose of mid-week short runs.
So far, I’m a believer.

As anyone who is forced to listen to me discuss my relatively new running “career” can tell you, I’ve gained about 10lbs since I started training for races (approximately in the past 2 years). During that time frame I’ve also turned 40. Whether it’s the continuous training (I seem to always have a next race on the schedule) or the magical milestone of age 40, I’ve struggled with efforts to lose this unwanted weight.
Let me start by saying “NO! This is not muscle gain!” I’m sure I’ve gained muscle but my pants are tight and I doubt I can attribute my waistline to muscle. And I’m not saying that I’m fat. I’m a small person (5’2″ tall) with a large-ish bone structure for my size. I weigh much more than I appear. When I started running I was comfortably a size 6 petite with some size 4s thrown in. Now I’m struggling with the Sixes and should probably buy some size 8 pants – if I weren’t so darn stubborn and determined to lose the weight.
I started reading the book Racing Weight and I do believe I could run faster if I lost these pesky 10lbs. I excused myself from following the book’s advice since I haven’t yet bought a body fat measuring scale. But I finally admitted that I needed to keep a better food journal.
Jeff Galloway recommends keeping a food journal as part of his ecoaching advice. I’m hoping that means I’m not the only Marathoner who used running as an excuse to eat anything! After “shopping” around for different Apps and Websites, I settled on myfitnesspal.com. The app is easy to use. It’s not perfect but I don’t think calorie counting needs to be an exact science. The point is that you alter your eating habits because you’re recording them.
I’m about 3 weeks in, I like the app. I thought I had lost about 1lb but I may have gained it back. I seem to weigh something different every morning. Which makes me crazy! I’m usually below the calorie count needed to lose 1/2 lb per week. I don’t want to go faster than that because I am training for a marathon, I think I need to give the program more time to see if it’s working before I give up hope.

Magic Mile

A part of Jeff Galloway’s training program is something called the Magic Mile. Every few weeks I’m supposed to run a mile at my top pace with the idea that I shouldn’t be able to go much further at e end. He likes you to warm up with some cadence drills (working on fast foot turn-over) and slow jogging. The recommendation is to go to a track where you have flat terrain and exact measurement of a mile. What makes the Magic Mile so, well, magic? According to Mr. Galloway the Magic Mile is the best predictor of race outcome for endurance races. Apparently you multiple your Magic Mile time by some mysterious “Galloway factor” and get an estimation of your race pace. Obviously the predictive power of this Mile depends on several additional factors: Did you actually do all (or most) of your training runs? Are you healthy and without injury on race day? Is the temperature on race day ideal (obviously extremely hot race day weather will necessitate a slower pace)? But overall it should give a decent idea of what to expect. The conversion factor is x 1.2 for Half Marathon and x 1.3 for Marathon. He even has a handy dandy calculator on his website where you plug in a Magic Mile time and get your predictions.
Although I wasn’t technically scheduled to run a Magic Mile until the fall, I had asked Mr. Galloway if it would be ok to start sooner. He said I could run a Magic Mile whenever I wanted (within preset limitations – it should be done on a weekend with a “short” long run and not a “long” long run). This past weekend I was scheduled to run 3 miles. The prior weekend was 8 miles and this upcoming weekend is 9 miles. My son wanted to come to the track with me anyway so it was a reasonable weekend to give it a go,
Life is never ideal so, of course, I overslept enough that my husband went out for his run before I got up (yes, Tom is getting fit – look out World!). I had to wait for him to return and it was already a warm and muggy morning. Then Nathaniel and I got to the track to find a Men’s soccer game taking place in the field. This wouldn’t affect my run but Nathaniel was planning to kick around a soccer ball while I ran. He declared he was bored before I even started. Despite the obstacles I was determined.
I warmed up with a mile of run 30 sec/walk 30 sec. I was trying to take it easy but clocked in at 12:23. And then it was time. I decided to run 1 lap and then walk 10-20 sec and then run the next lap. I didn’t track my splits. I was pretty spent at the end but clocked in at 9:39! I walked a lap before finishing my 3rd mile with a slow run 20 sec/walk 40 sec for 3 more laps.
I plugged my results into the Galloway Computer and found these results:

Half Marathon 2:31:42 or 11:35 min/mile. That’s close to my target pace for the More Magazine Half back in April. Illness in the weeks before the race and race day temps prevented that goal but it looks like I was on target.
Full Marathon 5:28:41 or 12:33 min/mile. Not far from what I had hoped to achieve in January.

I emailed my results today and Mr. Galloway seemed pleased. He told me that I should expect my Magic Mile time to improve throughout training. And apparently my weekly check-ins are full of useful details (?). I was a little surprised since I’m mostly just using the format he assigned. Do other people pay for ecoaching and then not follow it?

Anyway I’m very pleased with my training right now. I haven’t missed a run since starting ecoaching. I feel like I start each run with an idea of what I need to do. I have someone to answer questions (like how big should my hill be for hill repeats – turns out my hill was too hard). I truly feel like my email is read (I wished Jeff a belated Happy Birthday and he thanked me for that) and e answers help me think about training.

I’ve had many questions about ecoaching. I love it! But it’s not for everyone. I decided to take a leap of faith and do what I’m told (as anyone who knows me well can attest, that is a BIG leap!). The run/walk interval for long runs is much lower than my norm but I’m doing it anyway. I’m slowing down my long runs even when I know I can go faster because that’s what he says to do. I do my half mile repeats on Tuesdays and hill repeats on Thursdays along with cadence drills and acceleration gliders. I think if one is able to let go of preconceived training notions and follow his guidance, this will work for you. For me it’s definitely been a good decision,

As anyone who is a sentient being knows, we’ve had some heat this summer. I am not particularly heat tolerant. I seem to overheat quickly. I remember varsity soccer practice in August when I was in high school and the captains made me rest because my face was lobster red from being hot. For those who read my marathon report, my issue was more over-heating than tired legs. For all my husband swears that during winter I have 2 temperatures – cold and very, very cold – I actually struggle with this extremely warm weather more than with the cold. And yet, I’m proud to say, I haven’t missed a run since I started ecoaching.
I think this is a major benefit of ecoaching for me. It is forcing me to train when I used to have excuses. “How can I possibly email Mr. Galloway that I didn’t follow his plan? Especially when I paid him for his help?” This logic got me out the door last Thursday afternoon when the 6pm temperature at the start if my run was 91F. I took it slowly. I increased my walk interval. But I managed 2 miles in 90 degree heat without harming myself. Did I do the hill repeats on my training schedule. Um, NO! I didn’t want heat exhaustion. But I ran. I trained. I didn’t take a day off.
This weekend’s long run was 8 miles. The forecast for Saturday was a low of 75 and a high of 100. Sunday looked slightly better. I seemed to have picked correctly for 2 reasons. #1 My husband had to take a patient to the OR on Saturday morning so I was “babysitting.” #2 The weather was cooler on Sunday.
The key to warm weather running is to try to take advantage of early morning whenever possible. My Sunday run started at 6:15am when the temperature was 73F. It wasn’t really any warmer by the end of 8 miles. I enjoy the shaded trail along the Bronx River Parkway and dressed in light running clothes. I’ve also started running in a new mesh cap. Which says runDisney on it, of course. (Yes, my love of runDisney events is an expensive disease but one shared by many!)
Today was another day where ecoaching paid off. I email Mr. Galloway on Tuesdays with a training update. He emailed me back quickly and said I did a good job last week. That really boosted me up!!! I left for work at 6:30am and walked in the door at home at 7pm, having spent almost 12 hours on my feet in the OR. I really wanted to skip running. Instead I changed clothes and brought e kids to the basement with me where we watched Camp Rock 2 while I did half mile repeats on the treadmill. Not my fastest run ever but I want to do a good job this week, too!!!
I’m learning that running doesn’t have to stop when the temperatures pick up and that my running can happen if I decide it’s going to happen. Maybe life doesn’t have to get in the way of running. Maybe running is life?

We recently returned home from an incredible and – by American standards – somewhat lengthy vacation. On June 23rd we flew to Orlando where we spent the afternoon visiting World Showcase in Epcot and then slept at the Swan. Sunday we were picked up at 11am from the lobby of the Swan and transported via luxury bus to Port Canaveral where we boarded the Disney Dream. After 5 nights on this beautiful ship we arrived back in Port. We rented a car and drove to Fort Wilderness where a cabin in the woods was home for 3 days/2nights. While a trip of this magnitude leaves plenty of opportunity for comment, my purpose is to discuss my running.
I’ve previously found it very difficult to maintain my training while traveling with my family. Heat, illness, exhaustion, and lack of motivation have all played roles. And I guess a little piece of me has always felt, “Hey! It’s my vacation after all. I should relax.” But more and more running is a part of whom am I and I know that I need consistency to finish races strong and to maintain my general fitness and well-being.
So how did I do?
In short I did surprisingly well. And I’m quite proud of it!
I had hoped to get my weekend long run done before the weekend. But a sleepless night with Zachary followed by a brutally hot day prevented that idea. I entertained the idea of waking early enough on Saturday morning to run 7 miles before our 10:30am flight but soon realized that this was not a good idea – for my mental health anyway. Saturday was hot and busy but we got everyone to bed early enough that I set my phone alarm for 6am.
I woke up easily, dressed for my run, and took off. My new long run pace is actually slower than I seem able to run but I tried to keep my run slow. It was raining which helped keep the temperature down. I saw several other runners. The Swan is along the Boardwalk area outside of Epcot. I ran along the path to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and around the Boardwalk. It took several trips to get my mileage done. I even re-created that stretch from Hollywood Studios to Epcot during the late part of Disney’s Marathon!
So far, success! Longest run of the trip done. I felt strong with no aches and pains. And honestly none of the post-long run crash that I often feel. Amazingly only Zachary was awake and Tom had turned on a tv for him. Tom then went off to the gm for a work-out while I re-packed and got the kids dressed.
I had hoped to have my family participate in a 5k walk on Monday. We were docked at Disney’s private island – Castaway Cay – and a fellow group of cruisers had planned this walk. Unfortunately there was lots of standing around before we got started and my kids lost interest. Tuesday we were in Nassau and there were several passing storms. Not a big deal but enough to keep us on the ship. Tom worked out and then took the kids to Super Sloppy Science while I headed to the treadmill. 2.5 miles later I joined them to make Flubber. I learned that half mile repeats are not easily done on a treadmill!
Thursday I was able to participate in Disney’s official Castaway Cay 5k. They have bibs and rubber medals for all participants. It was at least 85F at race time with seemingly 100% humidity. It was great fun anyway even if my unofficial time of 37:25 is nothing to brag about. (There is no official time.)
My last run of the trip was on Sunday morning. Again I set my alarm for early and went for a lovely 3.05 mile run along the wooded paths. I was even greeted by 2 deer crossing my path as I ran. A great last day to vacation.
Overall I’m quite pleased with myself. Staying motivated to train when vacationing with the family isn’t easy but it can be done!