Friday, March 30, 2012

Losing My Mind

This week has been a rest week for me, so that means no working out. What, WHAT?!?!? All week I have seriously not known what to do with myself. Now granted, Monday and Tuesday working out was out of the question only because my bendy parts were not working at all. Then I worked the night shift from 3am on Wednesday morning to 6pm Wednesday night. So again I was ok with not working out. Then came Thursday. I had a plan. I was going to sleep in and then head to the gym and maybe jump on the elliptical for a while to help loosen up my legs and then get in a good stretch. Well my knee felt so unbelievably bad after I walked to get lunch that I decided to sit at home again.

So here we are, it's Friday. I subbed a 6am spin class this morning and all I wanted to do was get on the damn bike and pedal, but no, my knee won't let me! So again, I did the "right" thing and just yelled at the class from the floor as opposed to working out with them. Then I spent some time with a foam roller and yup, you guessed it, my knee hurts AGAIN!

One thing I should have been taking advantage of this week is cheating on my diet and for some reason, I haven't. I can say this is honestly the healthiest week ever for me in terms of eating. I have eaten more salads and chicken than I have all year, in one week! For some reason I don't want to do the bad things like drinking and pigging out. My body seems to want veggies! Who am I and what did this marathon do to me!?!?

So before this knee pain takes over my life, I am going to take a nice Epsom salt bath, stretch and get a massage and see how I feel. Coach P thinks it is "Runners Knee". I looked it up and it does exist (I mean it doesn't sound real does it?) and it seems like I have all of the symptoms, although Webmd can really make you feel like you have anything with the way they list symptoms. But I am going to go with it. I am going to keep myself from exercising (ok I may try to take a yoga class), and hope that by Monday I am ready to roll.

This last race reignited my spirit in racing. I finally came out on top. I think that had something to do with really thinking about the race I chose and examining the race course before signing up. So that is the method I am sticking to for the rest of the season. I will meet 26.2 again later this year (bearing knee cooperation) at the NYC Marathon, a course I know very well, but one that has challenged me every time I have taken it on. But this year, if I keep it up at the rate I am going I will be ready for anything it throws at me.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ocean Drive Marathon Race Report

What a weekend! I wanted to sit down and write this yesterday, but I was so sore that the thought of getting up off the couch and walking to the computer and having to sit down and get up again, was just too much! So, while I am still hobbling today, I got up the motivation to move around a bit.

So let's start with Friday. On Friday, Coach P called me to talk to me about my pacing and race plan. According to how I have been training I was all set for an 8:20 pace for the race. And for the first time, I believed him. I mean I have been running a lot and getting faster and this was a pretty flat course. So as long as the rain and the wind agreed with me, I could do this!

On Saturday, Nick and I headed down to the beach, I have a house down there, so it meant that I would be within 20 min of the starting line and could do all of my race prep at home. After hitting up the expo and getting my shirt and welcome packet we headed back to my house to continue to eating and watch the NCAA tournament. By 9pm my nerves were calm and I was ready to get this race started.

On Sunday, I got up and ate the piece de resistance of my fueling plan. The gut busting protein shake, banana and apple sauce. And then everything began to fall into place, or out of place, and that is enough detail on that one. The race had a 9am start (glorious, compared to normal triathlon starts we are used to) and we headed over around 8:10. We got the start, I made one more bathroom break and had just enough time to get to the start, listen to the national anthem and go!

In terms of racing conditions, the weather was definitely a little strange. We were running along the ocean most of the race and while it was only 52 degrees, it was oddly warm. I ran in my new short shorts, a tank top and a long sleeve technical shirt. By mile 2 I had already lost the tech shirt and was fine in just my tank and shorts. The other odd thing is that there were no rfid tags, the race was all based on gun time. So for the start I had to try to get as close to the line as possible without getting run over. I ended up 20 seconds back.

Once the gun went off, it was on! I had to fight through the slower people and those who were running the 10k. There were only about 1600 of us racing (around 600 marathon runners), so it wasn't too bad. I hit mile 1 at 8:21 and settled into my pace. The first few miles were fantastic. We ran a decent size bridge, but even then I was able to maintain a 8:27 pace.

The race was split up between 3 towns (islands), each separated by marshland and two bridges. The first challenge presented itself when we hit the marshland. Once there were no buildings around, the wind was brutal. We were facing 15mph headwinds, from mile 3 all the way to 26, with a 3-4 block break around mile 16. I realized then that I might not be able to stay on the 8:20 pace but I was surviving fine at an 8:30 pace. I felt fantastic, spirits high, but I started to realize that water stops were getting further and further apart. Any other marathon I have run, you can get water every mile or so. This one seemed to be every 2.5-3.5 miles. Once I realized that I started to just double up at stops, but still I was feeling incredibly thirsty.

Around mile 16 I noticed just how thirsty I was, my right quad was starting to cramp and I was getting a little nervous. I knew I would see my parents around mile 17 and I started hoping that they might be drinking water when I got there. No such luck. I saw Nick and my parents and kept going. The next thing I knew, Nick was running along side of me and ran with me for the next 2.5 miles keeping me motivated. I was able to stop at another water stop but by then both quads and both calfs were completely cramped. We stopped so I could stretch a bit and then took off again. At this point my pace was down to about 9:10. What could I do?

Nick dropped off at my parents and headed to meet me at the finish line. I crossed mile 20 at 2:58 and I knew my 4 hour goal was still within reach. I just needed water and a swift (mental) kick in the ass. Well the mental part was easy, but there was no water!! By mile 22 I felt like I was shuffling more than running (for those who have run a marathon before, you know the feeling). But I had to keep it going. I convinced myself for every 1.5 miles I ran I could stop and stretch.

I hit mile 25.2 at 3:55 and realized the 4 hour marathon was not going to happen, after a few explicatives, I took off and realized that although I didn't hit the 4 hour goal I could still PR. I crossed the line at 4:05:25, which is an 11 min PR for me and I couldn't have been happier. I had nothing left and that meant to me that I gave it everything I had.

After the race, we had to take a quick stop at the medic tent because I was not feeling correct. While everyone else was wrapped in mylars I was so hot I didn't want to be near anything warm. I also was having trouble bending my legs and my breathing was really shallow. Apparently I, much like all the others in the medic tent, was suffering from dehydration and a little bit of hypothermia. One thing I can say, is I looked way better than the others in the tent! Once feeling better we headed home to shower and eat some chicken cheese steaks.

All in all, I can say that I am very happy with the outcome. I know now that a sub 4 hour marathon is totally possible for me. On Sunday, the fitness was there, with more water I could have done it. I could have done way better than a 4 hour finish. But like I said, I know I raced as hard as I could, at the end of the day there was nothing left and I am proud of myself for not letting my pain and doubt take over and ruin my race.

Now I get a nice week off, to lick my wounds and relax. I am already feeling less sore, but I am a little worried about some knee pain that started around mile 23 and I am still feeling today. I am hoping it is nothing a little couch surfing won't fix.

So there you have it! First race of the year complete, and an 11 minute PR no less!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rest, Hydration and Lethargy

Well it is marathon week and I am concentrating on the three most important things. Resting as much as possible which usually isn't too challenging for me since I like to get 8-10 hours of sleep at night when I can. Hydrating, which again is not so hard, I just try to monitor by putting 1/6th of a lemon in each solo cup I drink and I try to make my goal 1-2 lemons a day. And lastly and most importantly lethargy. I am supposed to stay off my feet as much as possible. Coach P went as far to say that if I had to shorten a workout to get to bed early I could do that. Now my question is, why don't I get that kind of advice on weeks where he is trying to kill me? I guess the obvious answer is that I don't run marathons every weekend. And thankfully that I am not willing to change that little fact!

So the marathon is set for this Sunday and it looks like it is going to be pretty moderate in terms of temperature. Somewhere between 50-60 degrees. There is a slight chance of rain, but I am hoping that passes. I am pretty excited for this one for a few reasons. First it is down at the beach near my beach house, a terrain I know quite well. Waaaaay back in the day when I first started running marathons I did a lot of my long Saturday runs on my island. And 7 miles of this marathon will be that exact route. Second, since we are following ocean drive, hills will not be that much of an issue. We will have to cross a few drawbridges to get from island to island but I figure if the rest of the course is flat, it can't be that bad. And lastly, I haven't raced a full marathon since my bike crash. I was supposed to run NY that year but obviously it just wasn't in the cards for me. So now, I am just interested in seeing how I can do.

It is always nice to go back to "what you know". Running marathons is where this crazy obsession began and it is nice to go back and visit it every once in a while, like an old familiar friend. Now let's just hope this "old friend" treats me nicely.

I will try to check in once more this week if anything fun comes up. If not, I will be back on Monday with a race report!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Peek a Boo...

Ok so I kinda went into hiding for a bit in terms of writing. I have been so busy with all of my training that once I was done, I didn't feel like writing about it. Sorry! So on the topic of training I am now two weekends away from my first marathon of the season and first in 2 years. I am really hoping this 65 degree weather keeps steady. Running a marathon in March in shorts and a tank top at the beach would be amazing! But I am not going to even bother to check the weather anytime soon because I don't need anything else to stress about.

All of last week was the usual stuff in terms of training. It was this weekend that I thankfully got a little break and then had to do a little pace training. Coach P had me run a 30 min warm up, followed by 5, 1 mile repeats at 8:40, which 1 minute rest in between each. I believe the HR results from this will help to figure out the my race pace, which I am excited to hear about. That day I also had a 2 hour Z1/Z2 ride and then I got to take it easy on Sunday with a quick 50min ZR ride.

Today was the usual, I taught spin and then had to come home to go back to bed before work. This time change is kicking my ass. I am hoping it will only take a few days to get back to normal, but man, I wish they did it on Saturday morning as opposed to Sunday so we had at least a day for our bodies to figure it out.

So other than that, I am also kicking around picking up another class at the gym. Maybe teaching a sculpting class on Monday nights. I mean the extra $ can't hurt and to be honest, the lifting and abs can't hurt that much either! I will have to decide that today, so I will update you later in the week. But for now it is time to finish up work and get ready for my weekly Bachelor viewing party. Happy Monday!