Category Archives: Running

Spring Changes!

Hello all – happy spring…err or maybe summer? It’s supposed to hit almost 80 degrees this week. Kind of crazy for March.

But, I will NOT complain about warm weather while in the midst of marathon training. That would be absurd. I will simply say, thank you, thank you, thank you – over and over again.

Before I get into a marathon training update, I’ll explain why I’ve been gone again. There were some major changes in my life. I started a new job a little over two weeks ago – and as you can imagine – that was a pretty big deal. I had been at my last job for almost three years, but an amazing opportunity came along at an organization I REALLY love, and a position that basically rocks. After a lot of hemming and hawing, and talking over the pros and cons with my husband and family, I finally accepted the job and gave my notice.

I’m not exactly what you would call good with change. I like my routines, my schedules, knowing what’s going on, etc. So starting a new job was somewhat stressful and a big adjustment. Hence, the blogging fell to the bottom of the list. But I’ve still been reading and running, so now I’ll try to catch up. Last thing I want to say on the job front is that I’m VERY happy with the decision I made. I know it’s only been a few weeks and I still have a lot of learning to do, but so far this has been a great change! And I want to thank my husband, my friends and my family for all supporting me in making this decision, and listening to me go on and on questioning my choice. It was the right one!

And Now Onto Running
On the running front, things have been progressing. I won’t lie and say that I’ve stuck to my training plan 100%. I’m currently at around 215 miles in week 9 of my training plan. There have only been two weeks where I did NOT reach my weekly mileage goal. The first was due to illness and the second was due to St. Patrick’s day. I just completely messed up my schedule last week and left too much running to happen on the weekend, and then of course I was exhausted. But we had fun!

We hit the parade and then enjoyed a full day out in NYC – so running was kind of forgotten.

But I am trying to get back to the plan this week.  I ran 7 miles on Tuesday and 4 miles this morning. I have a 7 miler planned for tomorrow, 3 miles on Friday, and then a lovely 17 miles on the schedule for Saturday. Of course, it’s supposed to rain this weekend – the only rainy days this week.  I’m hoping the Saturday forecast might be a little wrong and some of the nice Friday weather will hold on until Saturday.

All in all, I am feeling a little bit better running-wise. My legs are finally losing their lead and I am getting back some of my speed. It’s still not feeling easy or as easy as it has been in the past, but I’m hoping I’m getting there. Hubby’s training is also going very well. He is running four days a week and has been following his plan pretty closely too. I’m hoping we’ll both have a great race on May 27!!

How are you enjoying this spring weather? Have you changed jobs in the past year – did it stress you out a lil bit? Who’s running a spring marathon – how is training going?!!

Have a great Wednesday all!

Stupid Sickness and Lead Legs

Hi there – I’ve been MIA for a bit, but that is not so unusual for me. This time thought, it was not just because I was lazy or busy, or feeling busy even though I could probably squeeze some blogging in. This time I was SICK. Sick like I haven’t been in years. I pride myself on being a pretty healthy person…and may even be a bit unsympathetic to people who are  out sick often. “Take your vitamins, eat right, exercise and you probably won’t have those problems” – I’m often known to think in my head. Yeah – I can be harsh. And probably unduly so.

But after this past week of suffering, I will certainly try to be more sympathetic and understanding when other people are ill.

So what got me down? Strep throat. EEK! Yes, I tend to run away from people when I hear this too. It’s contagious, it’s obnoxious – in short – it’s the pits. And that’s exactly how I felt for almost a full week. The symptoms started coming on last Saturday night when we were in Utica, NY visiting the in-laws. I had finished my 13-mile run earlier in the day (it went pretty well) and was feeling all legit and athletic…and then my throat got scratchy.

Like a true stubborn Taurus, I refused to believe anything was wrong and continued on in the same manner – running 6 miles in Utica on Monday when we had the day off. We headed back to NYC later in the afternoon on Monday and as I chatted with my mom on the phone, I admitted my throat issue. She saw the warning signs. She told me to go to the doc ASAP, but I kind of just listened and pretended that she was overreacting. I was NOT sick.

But then I was. I made it to work on Tuesday and through the entire exhausting day (we had an all-day video shoot that required running around and coordinating). And then on the way home I crashed. I thought about stopping into urgent care, but once again my stubborn side won out and convinced my better judgement that a good night’s sleep was all I needed.

Again – WRONG. I went to bed at 7 p.m. and woke up for work with nausea, a raging sore throat, and overall weakness. To the doc I went, and he told me what I knew but didn’t want to know – I had Strep Throat. Blah. Back to bed I went.

And so the rest of the week for running was shot. I feel like I slept for five days. From Tuesday through Saturday, I was pretty much a mess. And then just when I started to get really upset and convince myself that it wasn’t strep throat, but something more serious – like mono or cancer – I awoke on Sunday feeling…better! I wasn’t 100% and actually still don’t think I am yet, but I could swallow without wincing, I didn’t need to sleep 18 of the 24 hours in the day, and I even had a little appetite.

So I ran. Yes, I know it’s probably not the best thing to do. But I needed to get out of the house, and I went SUPER slow. And I felt better afterward. I ran 5.5 miles at an unbearably slow pace to top out at a whopping 11.5 miles for the week! So sad, but what are you gonna do?

But now it’s a new week and I have been attacking it head on. I ran last night after work and was so excited for what I hoped would be a fabulous run….and it sucked. I felt like I had lead strapped to my legs the WHOLE time. It was kind of ridiculous. I was sad after I finished the short but painful 3.5 miles and tried to cheer myself up by watching The Bachelor. Only to find myself cursing at the t.v. and telling said Bachelor how dumb he is. And so I went to bed with high hopes of a fabulous morning run.

Strike two for the fabulous run happened at 6:05 this morning when the lead legs returned. In full force. Seriously – what the heck?! It was awful yet again. I have never felt so heavy and slow in my life. Within the first few steps, I knew I was in for a tough run, so I had that conversation with myself where I try to justify cutting the run short. And then my willpower tried to overtake my fear and it was an all-out fight the entire time. When I managed to finish 4 miles (feeling still sooo crappy), my willpower won out and convinced my fear that two more miles wouldn’t be that bad.

I powered through those 6 miles this morning (it was a gorgeous morning btw), but it was a sad finish. I felt heavy and soggy and defeated…but also the slight twinge of runner’s high. And that’s why I’ll suffer through the next lead run and the next and the next…until hopefully I shake the lead out. Because at the end of the day, no matter how crappy I run, I still feel better than if I hadn’t gone at all.

But still – I want to get the lead out. How do I get the lead out? Help!!

I’m In A Fight With My Body

So I started this post on Sunday, February 12. And I am finishing it on Thursday, February 16. Things got a little busy. I started off my Sunday post by sharing one of my favorite post-run snacks. Bananas with peanut butter.

My Hubby thinks this snack is disgusting, but I find it just the perfect mix of sweet and sustaining after a run.

What is your favorite post-run snack? Another of mine is Chobani with cereal.

So after I bragged in my previous post about the fact that I was totally sticking to my training plan …then I went ahead and missed a run last week and had to regroup. I missed my Thursday run last week, so I had to make it up on Sunday. As I trudged out for four miles on Sunday morning, I remembered why I hate missing runs – because then I don’t get my much-needed rest day on Sunday after my longest run of the week. My body was pretty mad at me.

In an attempt to appease my body, I made a delicious soup on Sunday night. I wanted something warm and yummy, but also healthy. I turned to CookingLight.com for some help, and ended up making this quick and easy modified-version of their soup:

I used this recipe: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/spinach-pasta-pea-soup-50400000115796/ with a few modifications…

Spinach, Pasta, and Pea Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions
  • 4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of frozen spinach
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation

  1. Heat a large saucepan over high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic and onions; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Add orzo and chickpeas. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until orzo is done. Stir in oregano and next ingredients through spinach. Ladle 1 3/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 4 teaspoons cheese.

It was just what I wanted. And to add a little more to the meal, Hubby and I shared a plate of crackers and cheese.

Sunday night ended with us watching the Grammy’s and me heading to bed early.

And then my body decided it hated me again when I didn’t take a rest day for another four days. I have 30 miles on my schedule for this week, with a 13 mile long run this weekend. To many runners, this mileage is nothing. To me, just getting back into the swing of things, this is a significant bump up.

The rest of my week in running has looked like this:

  • Monday: Ran 4 miles at the gym. My gym has a 30 minute time-limit on the treadmill at the peak hours after work. So I ran faster on the treadmill than I think I ever have before and finished my four miles in 31:05. Phew! I was also dripping with sweat and a little wobbly getting of the treadmill.
  • Tuesday: I ran 5 miles outside after work along the East River. It was Valentine’s Day, but I had to get some miles in. Done and surprisingly felt decent!
  • Wednesday: I ran 4 miles outside after work along the East River. My body threw a temper-tantrum and I had to go super slow. This whole run was painful.
  • Thursday: I ran 4 miles outside before work along the East River. Again, my body was very angry about this arrangement and protested the ENTIRE way. It was a brutal run and I felt a slight twinge in my hip. I hear you body, and yes, I am planning a rest day. For tomorrow in fact!! 

This week four or marathon training has been pretty painful. I really hate conflict, so my body needs to get over this anger stuff pretty quick. Hopefully tomorrow’s rest day will help. Something else that eased a little of the pain was the nice bouquet of flowers I received from Hubby at my office on Valentine’s Day.

 

So pretty! Nice job Hubby!

And now I am happily looking forward to Friday as a day of rest and recovery. But I’m gonna need to have a serious chat with my body about what’s going to happen on Saturday. Hopefully with a rest day on Friday, maybe the 13 miles I have planned on Saturday won’t be too painful. 🙂

How do you cope with the pains of training? Do you scale back your mileage or push through it?

Fabulous Weekend and Superbowl Win!

So yes, I know it’s already mid-week and this post is pretty late, but I’ve been a busy woman the past few days. How it is already the END of Wednesday is truly beyond me.

But anyway, last weekend after my long-ish run, the Hubby and I met up with some of this family who were in town. We checked out their fabulous room at the Waldorf Astoria, then walked to Central Park to check out the iceskating, and finally headed to P.J. Clarke’s for a relaxed quick bite to eat. I had a very delicious turkey burger and the tater tots. If you are ever at P.J. Clarke’s, the tater tots are a must. So good.

After dinner we walked just a few blocks downtown to O’Neill’s, an Irish pub that was having live Irish music playing. I enjoyed a Blue Moon and a Smithwicks, and we all had a really good time.

Here we are, I’m in the pink…

And suddenly it was Sunday and it was the Superbowl! Hubby and I decided we wanted to stay home this year and just have some appetizers and snacks while we watched the game.

We started with a fruit and veggie platter – yum!

And we also snacked on crackers and cheese with pepperoni.

And then for the main event – homemade nachos! I have a serious nacho obsession…

At first I had shrimp cocktail on our menu as well, but the store Hubby went to was all out of shrimp, so we scrapped that plan and we were both worried about having enough food. It was MORE than enough. We feasted.

And then just as suddenly it was Monday (don’t you hate how that happens) and it was back to the grind. And back to training. I was able to squeeze in 3.3 miles on Monday night outside, 5 miles last night outside, and 3 miles on the treadmill tonight at the gym. Somehow, I need to get in 5 miles tomorrow morning, which pretty much means I need to plan a very early morning run – it’s going to be painful. But, knock on wood, I’ve stuck to the training plan almost to the “T” this time around.

What about you – do you TRY to stick to your marathon training plans or really just use them for overall weekly mileage?

I like being able to log my numbers and see them match what was planned…or even exceed it…which is rare. And then again, it feels like every training session is different. Things one is feeling particularly hard – even though I’m managing to stick with it.

One new twist is that I’m going to start adding in Yoga! I got a LivingSocial deal at the Yoga place right down the block, so I hope to take two classes this weekend. I think I’ve taken only one yoga class in my life (more a Pilates gal), so it should be interesting. I will be that girl in the back who is completely lost and falls all over the place. At least I’ll be entertaining. 🙂

What about you? Yoga, pilates, hot yoga – do you take any of these classes? What’s your favorite?

Happy hump day!

2012 Spring Marathon Training Week Two

So, the second week of spring marathon training is OVER! I just finished my long run for the week and it felt great. But before we get to that, I left off in the middle of my kind of tough week.

The rest of the week was pretty busy, but I managed to get my runs in. It’s fun to have Hubby running throughout the week too. And he does most of his runs after work at night, so I’ve started giving that a try here and there as well. On Wednesday night I ran 4 miles along the East River, and then on Thursday I ran 3 miles in the same area.

Wednesday night’s dinner was some leftover veggies mixed with rice and grilled chicken.

Dessert was some fruit…

Thursday night after my run I finished up the veggie lasagna leftover from earlier in the week. I love leftovers, it makes dinner so easy. I do know people who get freaked out by leftover or “used food.” How do you feel about them? And what’s your favorite leftover recipe?

Friday FINALLY arrived and it was a jam-packed day. I was thrilled to get home to relax a bit. We ordered pizza, and I may or may not have snacked on a cadbury egg and some sweettart hearts. :-/

So you can imagine that my gluttony on Friday night did not make for a great feeling start to Saturday. I was feeling a little bloated with carb overload and sugar. But I knew that I had a long run on the schedule and that I would probably feel a little better after it. So I dragged myself out of bed, ate my oatmeal and had some water and coffee, and then geared up for my long run.

I had 11 miles on my plan for the day, so I headed to Central Park to join all the other runners. It was pretty nice out – around 45 degrees – and I was pretty comfortable. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as sluggish and heavy as I thought I would. I didn’t check my Garmin at all during the run, I just ran whatever felt right.

A few miles into the run, I decided to shoot for 12 miles today. I also decided to run two smaller loops in the park – cutting off Harlem Hill – giving myself a little break.

Other than my nose running non-stop the whole time, I felt really great and strong. I ended up running 12.5 miles and here are my splits:

Not too bad! And as expected, I feel SO much better now. It was like I got rid of all the excess sugar and carb calories and cleansed my system. But lesson learned for the next long run to not overdo it with bad food the night before.

What is your go-to pre-long-run food?

I’m usually pretty good about keep my long run dinner pretty clean – either having pasta or a rice dish. I don’t think pizza is the right fuel for me. Of course, the candy didn’t help either.

Total mileage for the week: 28.15 miles

With my long run done, the rest of the day will be fun. We are meeting up with my sister-in-law and her husband, and our niece and her husband to gallivant around NYC a bit and get some dinner. Should be fun!!

Lastly, I will leave you a lovely Mr. Murphy photo. He hasn’t been on the blog in a while. Here he is having a relaxing night at home…

Hope you have a great Saturday!

 

Mid-Week: The Good, The Bad, The Sweets

Hello Wednesday. I wish you were Friday. So far, this week has been one of those really never-ending weeks. I’m actually glad I’m back in training mode because it’s keeping me sane.

The Bad
Besides having some residual head cold symptoms lingering, it just seems like every day there is another new issue to contend with or another frustration. My motto this week has kind of been two steps forward and eight steps back. And for a control freak like me, that is tough to handle.

The Good: Training on Track
But, I’m trying to focus on the positives. One being that I ran on Monday and Tuesday. Monday I logged 3.5 miles at the gym and Tuesday, I got my butt out of bed in the morning for a brisk 5-mile run. So far, I am on track for my mileage this week.

The Good: Delicious Dinner
Also on Monday, I made a delicious dinner after my run. I baked some tilapia, topped it with butter and lemon, and then sprinkled with dill, cilantro and garlic powder.

Our side dish was a vegetable medley. My colleague brought in some fresh kale from his garden, so that’s what inspired the dish. Along with kale, I added zucchini, potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, and a few grape tomatoes. It was very filling and delicious. 

The Good: Balade
Ok – so another positive was getting together with a friend last night for dinner and finding a new hidden gem. My friend Katie and I love exploring new ethnic, eclectic cuisines. We used to have a monthly date where we would try new and different restaurants. I think we kind of forgot about that tradition when we joined our book club.

But last night took us back to exploration. We ended up around Union Square and then walked a little south and east. We would up at: Balade – a Lebanese pitza and grill.

The waiter was super nice and helped us with our pronunciation and meal selection. We chose to share a bunch of small plates and it was the perfect amount of food.  We started with some hummus that had a light touch of lemon and was really good.

Then we had the Sambousik: “decadent pastry pockets filled with seasoned ground beef and toasted pine nuts.”  Along with the Grilled Halloumi Cheese: “grilled, sizzling hot cypriot cheese slices served with tomatoes and cucumber.” 

And last we had the Fatayir with Spinach and Feta (my favorite): “mini-pies stuffed with chopped spinach and feta cheese.”  

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take photos. It’s taking a little time to get back into the swing of things, but I’m working on it.

I guess, upon reflection, although my week has been kind of tough, it’s also had some high points. It’s all about balancing the good with the bad. I’m hoping that my little head cold will work its way out of my system today when I sweat it out at the gym and then eat a healthy dinner.

The Sweets: Sugar, Sugar
I guess I might as well also admit another bad point of my week have been my intense sugar cravings. I don’t know why they are so out of control, but with Valentine’s day candy and cadbury eggs showing up, I’ve found myself veering off my course and making unplanned stops at CVS and 7-Eleven to stock-up on totally unnecessary and unhealthy sweets. It’s my weak spot and I’m totally failing.

My new plan is to allow myself just a hint of the sugar I am craving tonight. I bought those ever-so-delicious-and-addicting sweettart hearts, and I am only allowing myself to eat five mini hearts tonight after a healthy dinner. I will give moderation a shot, and if that fails, I might have to just throw them out.

What about you (if anyone is reading) – how do you squelch temptations? Can you have them in the house or do you have to get rid of them? Can you practice moderation?

 

 

 

 

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Oh What a Productive Sunday

Happy Sunday all! I wish the weekend wasn’t over already. It really flew by. Hubby and I both got our long runs in yesterday, I got a hair cut, and then we went to dinner and a movie.

We tried out a new place about a block away from our house called Felice 83. It’s a new wine bar located in a very tiny space. I felt kind of cramped right away when we sat down. I hate feeling like I can’t really have a conversation with my husband when we’re at a restaurant because the people next to us are basically eating with us.

I got over the tight quarters and checked out the menu. There were some pretty interesting selections on the menu, and I finally settled on the quinoa dish. Hubby and I started off by sharing a salad (overpriced at $15), and we each had a glass of Cabernet. The negative was that, for a wine bar, our glasses of wine were very small. And at $8 and $15 a glass, we were expecting a decent-sized goblet. Not so.

The salad was very good, and my quinoa was delicious. I tried some of Hubby’s dish and it was good too. Overall, I’ll say the place is decent. It offers organic and local selections, so I guess I can see why the prices may be a bit more. However, I think we will be trying some other local places before we go back to this one again.

After dinner, we went to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

(Source)

I was a little hesitant about this movie because I knew it would be tough subject. But it wasn’t focused solely on 9/11 – it was really more of a close look at a family who lost a father/husband in one of the buildings. The boy in the movie was so good. He was pretty amazing. It was a very emotional and heart-wrenching movie, and I probably cried for most of it. But I certainly wasn’t the only one – I heard people all around me sniffling too. It was a good movie, but you have to be prepared for it, and in the right frame of mind to watch it.

Sunday
So after our busy Saturday, one might think Sunday would be a relaxed day. Not so. Before I got down to business, I fueled up with a delicious french toast breakfast.

With both of us in training now, we have more stinking (literally) laundry than ever before. It was overflowing and I knew it was going to be a big project. Four loads of laundry (up and down five flights of stairs about 20 times), and it was all finally gone.  So now we can start our second week of training off with clean clothes and an empty laundry basket.

The rest of my Sunday was filled with cleaning, running errands, and then making a delicious veggie lasagna.

Here is the recipe:

Vegetable Lasagna (6 servings)

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3/4 of a bottle of tomato basil pasta sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) carton of part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 hot cooked lasagna noodles (halved)
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I used skim)

Pre-heat the over to 374 degrees. Cook the noodles and then saute the mushrooms through the red onion for 5 minutes. Then add the sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Then spray an 8-inch square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom with 1/2 cup of the tomato mixture, then lay 4 noodles on top. On top of the noodles place 1/2 of the ricotta cheese and then 1 cup of the tomato mixture on top of it. Repeat the layers and end with noodles. Then put the last remaining tomato mixture in a thin layer over the noodles and sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese.

Then bake it covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake it for another 20 minutes. Then take it out and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

This is the second time I made this lasagna and it has come out really well both time. And I now have lunch for about four days this week. I love leftovers!

Okay – time to watch the rest of the SAG Awards and head to bed. Week two of training starts tomorrow!

How was your weekend? Anyone training for a spring marathon too?! What races?

And I’m (We’re) Back!!

Hello 2012, hello blog world! Wowza, I’ve been gone for a while. Okay, it’s quite obvious by now that I’m a fickle blogger. But something about starting to train for another marathon gets me back in blogger mode. I think it’s partially to help me stay on track, and also because I like being able to look back on all my training.

So as you may have already guessed, I’ve got another marathon coming up. If that wasn’t good news enough…my husband is also running it!! Hurray! This is going to be the best race ever.

Of course, I probably won’t spend more than 2-3 minutes actually running with him during the marathon because he’s so speedy. But at least we’ll get to run some training runs together, start together, and meet at the finish.

The Race
So what race are we running? The Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, Vermont.

It’s taking place on May 27, 2012 (Memorial Day Weekend). We’ve heard some really great things about this race, how scenic it is, generally flat, and overall lots of fun. We booked a hotel about a block from the start/finish, so hopefully the logistics will be easy and smooth.

Another great thing about this race is that my husband is raising money for a charity through his training efforts. He set up the whole charity page and all the details himself, and I’m really proud of his efforts. It will make running his first marathon even more special for him.

So, if anyone is looking for a spring marathon – you should sign up! We just completed our first official week of training. We are doing a 16-week training plan. Here’s what the first week looked like:

Monday: 3 miles on the treadmill
Tuesday: 4.5 miles outside in the morning (I know crazy!!)
Wednesday: 5 miles after work outside with Hubby
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 3 easy miles outside after work
Saturday: 9.25 miles in Central Park in 45-degree weather (nice!)
Sunday: Will be  a rest day
Total: 24.75 miles

Not too shabby for the first week. Hopefully I can stay on track for the next 15 weeks! Now it’s time to clean a bit, get a hair cut, download my next book club book (and maybe start it), and then hopefully have a nice date night with the Hubby tonight – dinner and movie! Hope you all have a great weekend and get out to enjoy the sun!

How to Run a Marathon When You’re Undertrained

Before I start, let me just say that I do NOT think you should purposely not train adequately for a marathon. In the ideal world, everyone should train appropriately and for weeks in preparation to run a marathon. But sometimes, as we all know, life gets in the way and training gets bumped to the side.

So with that initial disclaimer out of the way, now I will tell you how I was able to run a marathon injury-free without a lot of training – in the hope that it may help someone else if he/she ever faces a similar predicament. Again – I’m not encouraging you approach running a marathon in this manner. Just saying, worst case scenario, here are some things that helped ME. These tips may not work for everyone, but I think they helped me finish my fourth race in one piece.

Here we go with my tips for the undertrained:

  • Run Consistently: Even if you can’t manage to stick to your training plan in the least and it’s pretty much a joke to reference it at all, you should still try to run as much as possible. My schedule wouldn’t allow me to run 40-50 miles a week, but there were definitely a few weeks in the 30 mile range. Basic idea – even if you can’t train to the level you want, you should be running. I would NEVER encourage someone who hadn’t been running at ALL to try a marathon. You need a base. My base was 240 miles.
  • Get in Some Long Runs: So for this marathon, my longest “long” run was only 16 miles. That’s not long at all. For my last marathon, I ran a 20 miler and 22 miles. But I did get in a few long runs this time around: 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 miles – that was the extent of my long runs. But imagine if I hadn’t at least run those?!! Get in as many as you can. That’s the basic point here.
  • Eat Well: Even though I hadn’t been running a TON over the past four months, I can say that I’ve been eating very healthy. I was probably watching my foods even more BECAUSE I wasn’t running. I knew that if my activity level went down, my weight could go up. So I was careful not to overeat, and to be sure that most of what I was eating was natural, not highly processed, lower in fat, etc. All that good stuff. I don’t care what people say – what you eat DOES matter when marathoning. I went into this marathon at a good weight, and knowing that I had nutrition on my side.
  • HYDRATE: I took hydration to a new level with this race. Early in the week before, I was sipping on coconut water and hydrating like CRAZY. Then a day before the race, I started using nuun tablets in my water for an extra boost of hydration and electrolytes. I also took a nuun tablet in my water the morning of the race. Hydration was never an issue for me during this race.
  • Go Slow & Take Breaks: I fully admit that I am that girl that busts out from the starting line at full speed, fueled by adrenaline and excitement, feeling invincible and ready to eat the marathon for breakfast. This time around, I was NOT that girl. I knew I needed to start off slow. And while my first few miles were still a little faster than what I had intended, they weren’t insane. They were manageable. And I continued to keep it slow. And then finally, when things got really tough at the end, I walked. It was a first for me, but my main concern was to finish the race and finish it injury free. I knew that walking would help get me there. Slow and steady and breaks when necessary. That is perhaps my best advice to someone feeling under-trained.
  • Don’t Stress: Lastly, try not to stress yourself out (and potentially psych yourself out) before the race. Yes, so you’re not as trained as you’d like. Well there really isn’t much you can do about it now. So if you’ve made the decision to run the race, then don’t second guess it or freak yourself out. Remind yourself that if things get really bad, you always have the option to stop completely. A DNF is not the worst thing in the world – your health is certainly more important. Stay calm, keep your head in a good place and just run it as best you can.

 

 YAY happy finish photo! And then after you’ve finished the marathon (undertrained perhaps), my final piece of advice is to foam roll, stretch and rehydrate like crazy!! After doing that, I was pleasantly surprised to not feel that sore the next day.

And that’s it. Those are my fairly obvious and not-so-groundbreaking tips to help someone undertrained run and finish a marathon injury-free.

What about you? Have you ever run a race with fewer miles logged than you would have liked? What was your secret for survival?

 

 

2011 Mohawk Hudson River Marathon Race Recap

Well, I did it! I ran my 4th marathon on Sunday, October 9 in Schenectady/Albany, NY. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was pretty nervous about this race because I was admittedly under-trained.  I had run about 240 miles in training and my longest run was 16 miles. I had good reason to be nervous.

Things that were in my favor: I ran the Boston Marathon in April, so I hoped some training maintenance had carried over; I’ve been running pretty consistently; I’ve had a bunch of long runs recently; and I have been eating very well over the past few months.

But don’t get me wrong, I know this wasn’t a smart decision. If I didn’t think I was in decent enough shape to do it, I would have bowed out. But deep down, I just knew I’d be all right.

I woke up the morning of the race a few minutes before my alarm with a nervous stomach. Not unusual for me. I got up, ate a giant bowl of oatmeal, had a cup of coffee, and then started hydrating. I tried nuun for the first time for this race and I’ll write a separate post about that.

I ran this race with my friend Lauren – we ran this race together back 2009 as well – my very first marathon. We headed to the start around 7:45 and immediately got in the bathroom line. We took the requisite pre-race photo…

Then we headed to the start, chatted with a few people we knew, and then we were off! It was a very quick start.

Our goal was to keep our pace pretty easy and consistent in the beginning. The adrenaline and the crowd tend to tempt me to pick up my pace. And I knew that especially in this race, with not much training, that could not happen. Our first few miles were still a little faster than we intended:

Mile 1 – 8:47
Mile 2 – 8:37
Mile 3 – 8:30
Mile 4 – 8:34

My parents were around the 4 mile mark cheering and taking some photos. At this spot, they only really got our backs…

We look like we were chatting away. At this point, we both felt great. And as we should, it was the first few miles. We had a gorgeous day for our race, but maybe a little too gorgeous. The beginning temps were perfect, but as the race went on, it got a little bit hot.

We began to try to slow things down after about mile 5:

Mile 5 – 8:32
Mile 6 – 8:50
Mile 7 – 8:51
Mile 8 – 9:01

When we hit our 9 minute mile, I decided that this pace seemed somewhat sustainable and I wanted to try to keep it there for a bit. I was starting to feel a tightness in my left foot and I worried that anything faster would start to take its toll on my body. We also started taking either water or Gatorade at every stop – which was every 2 miles.

Mile 9 – 9:03
Mile 10 – 9:13

A little bit after mile 10, I took my first Gu at the water stop there. I decided to take it around 10 and 20. My body was needing it at the 10 mile mark and I prayed that the caffeine would kick in quick. From mile 10.5 – about 13 we had a few uphills, and it was starting to get hot.

Mile 11 – 9:43
Mile 12 – 9:41
Mile 13 – 9:52

A little bit after mile 13 we saw my parents again, cheering with a big crowd. My mom snapped a few pictures.

We look so cheery! But I think at this point, we were both really feeling a little weary. We knew we were only halfway with a lot more running to go. We said hello and goodbye to my parents and trudged on. We saw Lauren’s whole family at mile 14 and she decided to stop and stretch a bit. She told me to keep moving.

Mile 14 – 9:33
Mile 15 – 9:03

Just after leaving Lauren and around mile 15, I had to deal with the two most annoying marathon runners. The first was a woman who decided to stop and “turn around because she started out way too fast” and apparently had some issues. She turned around to run with (and to my mind torment) two apparent colleagues. How did she torment them (and everyone around her)? By singing screaming  songs on her iPod and random cheers/jeers every 10 seconds. Literally, she did not stop. She was trying to “pump up” these two guys, but really she was just utterly obnoxious. A huge part of me wanted to tell her to shut up, but my better judgement prevailed. However, I passed two other runners who said I should do it because they had wanted to tell her to zip for a while as well.

Thankfully, I was able to pass the obnoxious girl in about a mile or two and get out of earshot, so I didn’t want to rip my hair out. I made it to 16 and then saw my parents again at 17.

Mile 16 – 9:04
Mile 17 – 9:02

I was actually feeling pretty good still… even though the photo makes it seem otherwise. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop and the pain to set in. Oh and I said there were TWO annoying runners. Well, the second was really a group of runners. There was an Asian team of runners, whose apparent Captain seemingly kept them all “motivated” by randomly screaming “WHooo HAA, Whhhoo HAA” in an extremely loud voice. The first time he did this, I thought it was a signal that they wanted to pass so I got nervous and moved over. But no, just randomly every few minutes this guy did this and scared the beejesus out of me. The obnoxious woman and the Whoo-Ha crew actually overlapped their stay in my run for about a mile, and I thought for sure I was being punished for something. Looking back, now I think it was the motivation I needed to keep up my pace and pull away from them. I ditched Screaming Lady and the Who-Ha Crew and trudged on.

Mile 18 – 9:00
Mile 19 – 8:57

After mile 18, we moved onto the main road in Watervliet and it was HOT! No shade, running on the streets with traffic, inhaling some awesome exhaust. My parents were there around just before mile 20, and they said they could tell I was totally faking my smile this time around.

Yeah, I was starting to feel the pain. I’ve got my Gu in my hand here, ready to throw it back at the next water stop, which came just after this photo was taken. I downed my Gu and tried to keep my pace up, but it became tough. By the time  I hit mile 21, I was running smack into “The Wall.”

Mile 20 – 9:24
Mile 21 – 9:38
Mile 22 – 9:58

I told myself I needed to make it to the water stop at mile 23 and then I would do something I’ve NEVER done in a race before – I would walk. Desperate times people, desperate times. I know myself. I know my body. And I knew that walking may not be a helpful thing for me because I may NEVER start running again.

I grabbed a water and Gatorade at 23 and started walking. It was a strange new experience, and I fully admit I felt embarrassed. I didn’t want to walk. I wanted to run. But I just couldn’t. I hadn’t trained hard, I needed a break. And I knew I needed to do this to be able to finish at all. But it also HURT. Walking isn’t an immediate relief. It’s just a new kind of pain – maybe a little less intense – but still pretty awful. After about 1/4 of a mile, I tried to start running again, and OH LORD, that was pain.

I managed to get moving and told myself I was allowed ONE MORE walk break.

Mile 23 – 9:58
Mile 24 – 10:53

I decided to take my next break around mile 24.4. This time around, I was prepared for the pain, but again not the embarrassment and even anger I felt at myself. I know people walk in marathons. I’ve run a few, I see it happen. But I didn’t want to do it.

As I was mulling over my guilt, one of the guys handing out water said: “Great job guys. Remember, it’s totally fine to take a break right now. You just have to look good from mile 25 to the end.” I wanted to hug him. I knew he was right. I knew that in the thick of this race, out on the bike path with no spectators, it was completely my time to deal with my pain however I needed. I had every right to walk or even stop if I needed to.

I walked for a little bit longer and then decided around 24.75 I wanted to start-up again.

Mile 25 –  11:43

I started running again at mile 25 and decided that was it. I was going all the way to the end running. I had to force myself not to check my Garmin because it felt like it was taking forever. But finally, I could feel the end and knew I’d see it soon. I tried to pick up my pace and push harder.

As I rounded the last .2 miles, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief very close. And every time this happens in a marathon I want to cry. So as I passed the family and friends lining the final .1 of a mile, I fought back my tears and tried to smile. And then I was crossing the finish!!

Mile 26 – 9:40
.25 – 2:10

Final Time: 4:04:59

It was my slowest marathon so far, but I didn’t care in the least. I wasn’t fully prepared and was happy to just finish it without any injuries. Not every race is going to be your best, and not every race will allow you to prepare like you want. But I was extremely proud of my will to power through the pain and finish strong.

And I can NOT say enough thank yous to my family and friends cheering during this race. My parents were literally everywhere, and even at mile 20 when I didn’t want anymore photos and could barely crack a smile, I was still so happy to see them.

And that’s all folks – my fourth marathon is done! Hurray! 🙂