Tag Archives: training

Week 12: A Needed and Appreciated Cut Back Week

Week 12 of marathon training in O-VER! We are slowly inching closer to marathon day and I gotta tell ya – this warm weather is making me a little nervous. The Boston Marathon will be run tomorrow in 80 degree temps in the middle of April. What will it be like by the end of May? I am very scared that they will either cancel our race Memorial Day weekend or it will be truly torturous to run in crazy hot temps.

But, there’s no use speculating and getting myself all worked up right now. There are still 6 weeks of training to go with two more tough long 20 mile runs ahead of me.

I’m getting ahead of myself again. This post is a recap of week 12 of training, which was a much needed and appreciated cut back week, as the title says. This week I had 34 miles on my plan and I came in pretty close at 33 miles for the week. Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: rest day (a.k.a. – lazy and tired day)
Thursday: 6 miles
Friday: 4 miles
Saturday: 13 miles

It was a pretty light week, which was super nice considering I was tired and lacking in motivation – as Wednesday clearly showed. I just came home and wanted to nap rather than run. It happens sometimes when you are in the thick of training. At least for me anyway.

But, by Saturday morning I was feeling more motivated and ready for a longish run. My plan called for 12 miles, but I ended up running nearly 13. I was running through Central Park starting around 9:20 a.m. and got caught up in some race going on. It felt weird to be running with the group when I wasn’t really in the race and I kind of just wanted to get away from them and do my own thing. Because of that, I ended up running some of those first miles faster than planned to get away from the other runners. My splits looked like this:

Yeah – it was a much faster run than I expected. But it also felt good to push it a little.

After my longish run, Hubby and I headed out to an afternoon show. At the Colon Cancer run we won tickets to a show and today was the day. We headed to the theater district to see:

It’s a new show that came over from London and I thought it was really good. It was very funny. I’d recommend it. The main character REALLY likes eating and I could totally sympathize with him – especially now during the peak of marathon training. I seem to be devouring everything and have a real sugar addiction.

How serious you ask? Well after the show, I made some homemade “healthified” nachos for dinner, and then proceeded to eat half a bag of hugs and half a box of sweettart hearts. I NEED to stop. Sugar is bad. Sugar is bad. Sugar is bad. I keep telling myself this box/bag of candy will be the last one and I last about 3 days and then go buy another. HELP!!

Anyone have any tips for cutting down on sugar and beating those terrible sugar cravings?

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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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I’m Going to Run a Marathon in 3 Days

No, I’m not making this up. Yes, I am probably crazy. No, you can’t talk me out of it. No, you probably shouldn’t try this at home.

So ages ago I signed up for the Mohawk Hudson River Marathon, which takes place in my hometown, and I ran this same race in 2009. It was my very first marathon and it was amazing.

My friend (Lauren pictured above) and I decided to run it again. But then a lot of summer plans and changes started happening, and really conflicted with my running schedule. I decided to bow out and disappoint my friend. I was very sad. She was very sad. It was all very sad.

As the months passed, I kept running. Certainly not what I would have been running if I were really training, but running nonetheless. There were even some long runs sprinkled in there.

Fast forward to about two weeks ago when the crazy part of me started wondering if I could do it. I hadn’t trained like I should, but I had definitely maintained some of my endurance from my April marathon.

So I gave myself a test last weekend. I ran 16 miles at a very decent effort to see how I would feel at the end. And the result was that I felt great.  Don’t worry, like I said – that was NOT all my training. I have 240 miles logged as well. 🙂 Not nearly as much as I’d normally run, but it’s not nothing, right?

Ok – I will pause to let all you other runners yell at me (okay and my husband and parents). But I am going to give it a shot. I know people who have run a marathon with less training than I’ve put it and lived to tell the tale. And it won’t be my first rodeo – this will be my fourth.

Yes, I will admit that a huge part of me is really nervous about my sub-par training, and yes, I am yelling at myself quite a bit. But the other part of me remembers how amazing this race was, how fantastic it was to run it with my friend, and how much energy I got from seeing all our friends and family cheering for us.

So, perhaps against my better judgement (and the resistance of my family and husband), I’m going to do it. The worst that can happen is I’ll drop out. And if I do, I’m not far from home – someone will come pick me up.

But my gut tells me I can do it. Do I think it will be painful – heck yes. Do I think I may cry – it’s likely. But I’ve been through both those things before.  And at the end of the day, don’t we all have to be a little crazy to want to run a marathon at all? I think all us marathoners have some crazy in us – we love the challenge, we like to test ourselves. So I guess I’ve just upped the ante a bit, intensified the challenge.

Ok – I open up the forum. Go ahead and yell at me and tell me I’m stupid. Warn me against doing it. List all the possible problems. Or, if you’re feeling kind – tell me you think it’s possible, that if I have the drive and take it slow – I’ll be just fine. Or tell me when you’ve trained less than you would have liked and it all turned out okay – those stories always help pump up my confidence.

And stay tuned – I’ll let you know on Sunday if I made it to the end!

Guest Post: First Marathon with a Sub 3 Hour Goal

Since I’m not running a fall marathon this year (sadness), I decided to check in with my friend’s husband to see how his training for his very first marathon is going. He is running it in October in my hometown and he has a BIG goal – sub 3 hours! Just between you, me (and the blog world) – I’m pretty sure he’s got this goal in the bag. He is super speedy and I can’t wait to see him crush his goal. Anyway, here is a fun guest blog from Bob on training for his very first marathon. Welcome Bob!

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Thanks, Lindsey, for encouraging me to make my first foray into the world of blogging.  Hopefully this will be a bit more interesting than the usual stuff I write for work (I’m an engineer, so most of my writing material could be used as insomnia treatment).

The Mohawk-Hudson marathon in October will be my first marathon, but I’m no stranger to running.  I ran cross-country and track in high school and college and have trained moderately since then, mixing in the occasional summer road race. 

When I was younger, I figured that I would run a marathon within a couple seasons of finishing my eligibility (I finished my eligibility in ’96).  Unfortunately, the competitive side of me has been a hindrance to getting that first marathon under my belt (ironic sounding, since most people who know me outside of running would not use the word “competitive“ to describe me unless it was prefaced by the word “not“).  I’d always said to myself and others that if I was going to run a marathon, that I would do it “right” and put in some serious training.  Now that my definition of serious training has changed (I no longer feel the need to train like I’m 22), I’m finally ready.  Nonetheless, because I know that competing keeps my motivation to train higher, I’ve decided I want to not only finish my first marathon but shoot for a personally challenging time.  I want to break 3 hours.

Right now I’m a few weeks into my serious training for the marathon.  I’m actually following a workout schedule for the first time since college (I got the schedule off of the Runner’s World website).  I‘m not traditionally a huge fan of schedules and to-do lists (ask my wife), but I view it as a necessary evil.  Every week has a couple of easy runs and three tougher runs.  The tougher runs are: an interval workout on the track at paces well ahead of goal race pace, a 6-9 mile tempo run at about 20-40 seconds ahead of goal race pace depending on the distance, and a long run (14-22 miles) at a pace that is a little slower than goal race pace.    

The workouts are going okay for the most part, but there have been a couple of hiccups.  It’s been pretty easy to meet my time goals on the track workouts.  I’m usually well ahead of my goals, and I always feel pretty good at the end of the workout.  The tempo runs haven’t been too bad either.  I’m generally either at or a little better than my time goals for those.  The long runs have been the biggest challenge to date.  I’ve done five of them so far; three went well, and two went poorly.  On the two that went poorly, I finished the last few miles way slower than I had planned.  Both runs were on hot days where I didn’t pace myself very well early in the run, so mostly I chalk up the poor results to stupidity on my part for running too fast, too early in hot weather.  There is some doubt that creeps in though…maybe my 3 hour time goal will be too challenging?  Maybe I’m better at middle distances than I am at long distances (1500 meters was my best event in college)?

So far my body is holding up okay, but I do have one major annoyance.  I’ve had chronic Achilles tendon problems on my left leg for several years now.  It makes the first mile or so of every run a bit painful and gimpy (the first hundred yards, I run more like someone who’s 67 rather than 37).  Fortunately, it always loosens up. 

To make sure that my tendon doesn’t get too stiff overnight, I’ve been wearing a night-splint to bed.  The sight of me sleeping in my monstrous night-splint really makes Jess (my wife) think that I’m a lunatic for even putting myself through all of this.  Our cat, Desmond, is not a big fan of it either, since it has been the direct cause of his involuntary ejection from the foot of our bed a couple of times when I rolled over. (Similar splint/boot below in photo)

I guess there’s not too much else…I haven’t changed my diet at all really, except that I eat a little more.  It hasn’t been too tough to find time for the runs so far (Jess has been very accommodating on this front).  Running with a water belt for long runs felt a little weird at first, but I’m getting used to it now.  I like my Garmin Forerunner 405 watch.  Plus, I am definitely looking forward to the weather cooling down (especially for those after-work runs during the week).

I plan to send Lindsey a follow-up after the race with my thoughts on how it all went.  It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out.  I’m sure it won’t go exactly like I expect, but that’s part of what makes this exciting.

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Thanks for your guest post Bob!! Best of luck to you on your first marathon. I can’t wait for your race recap and Jess’s pictures of you running! 🙂 I’ll be running the half marathon that goes along with Bob’s marathon, so I should hopefully get to see him finish – although at his pace, he might pass me and finish first!

What about you (readers) – what was your biggest running goal? Did you accomplish it? How did you feel? And if you’ve run a marathon before, how was your first one? Did it go as planned?

Post From The Road

So the title is pretty self explanatory. I’m writing my first blog post from the road. We are on 87 in the worst traffic ever. Regardless, I thought I’d give blogging from the road a shot. I’m not entirely sure if I can post photos this way and I’m sure my spelling will be horrendous.

The good news of my week is that I managed to accomplish all of the goals I set for myself yesterday which were to get out of work on time, squeeze in a 5 mile run, and make a delicious dinner. Check, check, check.

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While I was on my run, I got to thinking about how I tend to compare myself to my “peak” of fitness pretty often. You might think it’s weird that I’ve already passed my peak and can pinpoint it. It was when I was training for the Poconos Marathon last spring. I had incredible endurance, speed and muscle tone. So inevitably, I find myself comparing my current fitness level to that “peak” and I always wind up feeling sort of disappointed. I don’t think it’s a particularly good thing to be doing, but I just can’t seem to stop it.

So my plan is to strive for a new level of fitness that fits with my current level of exercise and life. I am not training for a marathon so I have to accept that I won’t have that endurance and muscle tone that I previously had. So instead I want to strive to run 3-4 times a week and eat healthy overall. It’s hard for me to not have that marathon goal driving me and I need to create some new motivation and challenges. Maybe that will be half marathons, finding new running buddies, maybe taking some classes. But I need to stop comparing myself to that peak because it’s unrealistic and maybe a bit unhealthy right now.

What about you? How do you stay motivated and comfortable with your level of exercise and goals?

9 Miles – Check!

Good afternoon – happy Sunday. I hope you’ve been having a good weekend. I’ve been having a low-key weekend with my sick Hubby. I’m praying I don’t get his cold.

Yesterday I woke up early and was nervous and excited to head out for my first longish run in a long time. I left around 8:30 and ran a solid 9 miles. My Garmin was still locating satellites for the first 1/2 mile, but as I got closer to Central Park it finally picked me up. Here are my stats:

Mile 1 – 8:55
Mile 2 – 8:20
Mile 3 – 8:48
Mile 4 – 8:45
Mile 5 – 8:40
Mile 6 – 8:49
Mile 7 – 9:25
Mile 8 – 8:54
Mile 9 – 7:26 (.83)

Total Garmin mileage – 8.83 in 1:18:08. Average pace  8:51 minute mile.

Overall, I was very happy with that pace and time. My return to running has started off slow and I’m okay with that. I don’t want to push things too much. I felt pretty good throughout the whole run, but was definitely still moving slower than usual. It felt strange to be passed SOO much by runners in the park. And I got a little jealous when I saw all the teams training for the marathon together. But that will be in the winter/spring. So I’ll try to enjoy this down time.

I have a 3 mile run on my training plan for today, but I may just take it as a full rest day to give my legs some time to rebuild. I don’t want to push it.

Hubby and I also watched “It’s Complicated” this weekend and it wasn’t too bad. It was a little different than I expected, but entertaining.

Today will be filled with cleaning and laundry. I’m also trying to create an album on Snapfish for our Ireland trip. It’s a bit more complicated than I thought, so it’s taking a little longer than anticipated. I’ve widdled down our more than 1,000 photos to about 600, but I’ll still need to get it even smaller for the album. But I’m afraid that if I don’t do this now, I never will. I love having printed albums. I know that most people have gone totally digital, but I still love looking at printed photos. Call me old fashioned.

Anyway – have a great Sunday all! I’m dreading Monday. 😦