Archive for September, 2013

Twelve more days until the Long Beach Marathon! I am totally loving taper and I say that without a trace of sarcasm. No taper crazies this time because it’s my third full marathon in a year’s time and frankly I am a little burned out on the training regimen and happy to cut back a bit. I still love all things active and I never regret a workout, it’s just that I’ve noticed I have a little less desire to get out there early on a weekend morning for a long run!

That leads me to some random signs that you’re ready for the big race day:

1. You have a distinct tan line from your GPS watch.

Bloggers are so weird. Yes that is photographic evidence of my Garmin Forerunner 110 tan line. Because you really needed to see it to believe it, or something like that.

Bloggers are so weird. Yes that is photographic evidence of my Garmin Forerunner 110 tan line. Because you really needed to see it to believe it, or something like that.

2. You even have a tan line on your cubital fossa from when you bend your arm during a long run and the elbow pit gets protected from the sun. (Terribly sorry, no bizarre photo of my cubital fossa tan line today).

3. You are more than a little bored by your usual running routes, bike paths, and swimming holes and you can hardly wait to get out on the race course.

4. Even your most supportive family and friends are tired of hearing about your training and the race. (In truth not a single person ever shows me a sign that I’ve run (ha ha) my mouth on too long about my training, but if I’m sick of talking about it I know that other people must be tired of hearing about it).

5. Your perspective has changed and a run you used to consider “long” now seems blessedly short. I ran 13 miles on Sunday and felt like I got off easy. Perhaps that’s because, if you count the Santa Barbara Marathon and Mountains 2 Beach Marathon, I’ve done thirteen 20-mile long runs in the last twelve months.

6. You’re already thinking about which big race you might like to do next, depending on how this one goes.

7. You have “extra” energy that you burn off by doing projects around the house. For me this usually involves cleaning a closet or organizing papers.

8. You start having nightmares about being late for the race start or getting lost on the course. (Tell me I’m not the only one who has these kinds of bad dreams before a race!)

9. You start seeing “signs” or “omens” of how your race will go. I’ve started noticing all things Long Beach — a friend talks about vacationing there, on a clear day I can see 15 miles all the way down to the Long Beach harbor, I find coupons for the Aquarium of the Pacific.

10. You’ve booked the hotel, studied the course map, planned your race day fuel and gear and now you just want to DO THIS ALREADY!

Do you notice any other signs that you’re ready for the big day? Do you have nightmares about the race?

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During the course of a normal week I work out 5-6 times. Three runs: speed workout, tempo run, long run. Two to three cross-training workouts, most often bike rides but sometimes a swim thrown in (more often if I’m training for a triathlon). I change up the different days that I run but lately it’s been speed on Tuesdays, tempo on Thursdays, long run on Sundays. If need be, I can push the tempo run to Friday and still have a rest day or cross-training day on Saturday before the long run on Sunday. EXCEPT. The universe has conspired to teach me a lesson. That lesson is: carpe workout. Seize the workout!

Three weeks ago a few family members, including me, had a sore throat. I decided not to push it on Thursday and I took a rest day in the hopes that the rest would help me fight off whatever bug was going around. Sounds wise, right? EXCEPT. The next day my middle child spiked a fever and started vomiting. I felt so bad for her. She’s always the hardest hit when anything is going around. At the same time, I felt bad for me because there was no way I was getting out for my long tempo run. I compromised by cutting down the mileage and running on the treadmill while I listened to an audiobook.

Fast forward two weeks. Yet another sore throat was making the rounds of the family, but I didn’t think much of it because there wasn’t a fever associated with it. I didn’t run on Thursday as usual for my tempo run because we had company coming that afternoon and I wanted to concentrate my effort on cleaning — it takes a lot of energy to sweep and mop this joint, even if I’ve just done it two days before for my husband’s band friends to come over. EXCEPT. I should have learned from the fever/vomit episode. That Thursday night my oldest daughter’s sore throat became so bad that she started having trouble swallowing and speaking. (Mail my mother-of-the-year award to: 000 I’m-really-sorry-I’ll-know-better-next-time, I-owe-her-some-ice-cream, USA). My husband took her in to see the doctor and of course the rapid strep test came back positive. The doctor casually mentioned that my daughter might get worse before she got better (code for: you let this go so long she’s got a serious infection and she’ll have some fallout as the antibiotics start to kick in). Sure enough, my daughter spiked a fever (when I swear she didn’t have one before) and looked awful. Even though she’s old enough to stay home on her own for an hour or two, there was no way I was leaving her home alone so I could go out for a 10-mile tempo run. And no way I was doing a 10-mile tempo run on the treadmill in the afternoon. I tried. Really I did. I had my running clothes on, I had my running pack on with my sports drink in the bottle, I had my iTouch loaded. I just could not bear to run for an hour and 40 minutes on the treadmill after an already stressful day.

So, I learned the bitter lesson: carpe workout. Seize the workout! If you CAN workout on a Thursday, don’t put it off until Friday, no matter the reason. If you don’t you just might end up doing 10.6 miles on a Saturday, with 8 of those miles at marathon pace (8:35 if you must know), followed by 20.4 miles on Sunday (whether or not you need help with the math, that’s 31 miles for the weekend). That Saturday 10 miles turned out to be a lovely run, actually. The weather finally cooled down here in SoCal and it was just glorious to go for that run. EXCEPT. The next day I still had the 20-mile run on the schedule. I wasn’t so jazzed about that. Turns out, it was another glorious day, and I just got out there and did it. And while it was the slowest 20 miles of the five 20-mile runs I’ve done for this training cycle, it was strong and good training for running on tired legs.

And now, I enter the amazing three weeks of taper. I used to loathe taper. Now I embrace it. It’s a time for me to focus on my nutrition choices (given that I’m not working out quite as hard) and to embrace the extra time and nervous energy, which I generally put into making up for any cleaning tasks I let slide during the intense weeks of training. Three weeks until the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon! I’m excited, intimidated, resigned, and just plain happy I don’t have strep throat.

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Time I got to sleep last night: Midnight? Later? I tried not to look at the clock. Darn insomnia.

Number of times I was woken up in the night by my husband or my 5-year-old: At least twice. Good thing I love them no matter what.

Time I tried to wake up for my run: 5:30 a.m.

Time I actually woke up: 6:30 a.m.

Time I got out the door: 7:30 a.m.

Temperature when I started the run: 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature when I finished the run: 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Number of times I cursed myself for not going to bed earlier and not getting up at 5:30 to beat the heat: Too many to count.

Number of water bottles I carried with me: 2 — one 21-ounce in a fuel belt and one hand-held 12-ounce.

Number of stops for water refills (water mixed with sports drink powder): 3 (one park, one high school, one elementary school).

Total fluid consumption over 4 hours: at least 80 ounces, likely more. That’s about 3/4 of a gallon of fluid.

Number of times a total stranger gently honked his car horn and waved in support: 1. Thank you sir!

Number of hours of audiobook I listened to: 4. (The book is Anne Frank Remembered, one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s the story of Miep Gies, one of the people who helped hide Anne Frank and her family).

Time to complete 20 miles: 3:14:44.

Minutes to walk mile 21 to cooldown at a hobbling walk: 20.

Minutes spent refilling water bottles and stopping at stop lights on the route: 26.

Number of cities passed through: 5.

Elevation gain over those 21 miles: 879 feet (also known as “no joke” and “4 serious climbs”)

Average pace and speed: 9:44 minutes per mile, 6.16 miles per hour. Not bad for the heat and elevation gain.

Approximate number of calories burned: 2,400.

Calories I consumed at dim sum after the run: many, many delicious calories!

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The Southern California summer was nice and mild until about three weeks ago when it decided to hit the high 90s and low 100s and stay there. For extra fun, Mother Nature cranked up the humidity, too. So it’s been a challenge to complete outdoor workouts, especially since I’m too lazy to get up at the crack of dawn to beat the heat. (When I said that to a friend he was kind enough to say that anyone who runs as many miles as I do cannot be called lazy!)

August Miles

Swim: 1 mile in 32 minutes in 2 workouts

Bike: 72 miles in 4 hours in 6 workouts

Run: 126.61 miles in 20 hours in 13 workouts

Strength training: 1.25 hours in 5 workouts

Throw in an hour of tennis on top of that!

Random Photo for August

Campsite #1, poolside

Campsite #1, poolside

My family usually camps in a travel trailer but my girls had been begging to use this tent ever since my parents passed it on to us. I decided it would be fun to put it up in the backyard and the girls and I spent two nights out there. It was a ton of fun, right up until I forgot to take down the tent before the yard guy came to mow the lawn, and I found myself out in 96 degree heat, trying to pry the tent stakes out of the ground with a crowbar, a wrench and a hammer (my “helpers” had done a stellar job of pounding those stakes in!)

Goals for September

Eek! Five and a half more weeks until the Long Beach Marathon! I feel that the training is going well. I am relieved to have survived the first back-to-school illness with a very mild sore throat (the girls were not so lucky. You’ve heard the phrase “she tossed her cookies?” Well, in our case it wasn’t cookies. Remember that blueberry pie I had for my birthday? Yeah. Sorry for that visual.)

Anyway, the training is going well but my motivation is flagging. It’s hard to get up to run 20 miles in the heat when your family sleeps in. I do it, though, and I’m extra proud when I’m done. My goal for September is to power through these last tough weeks of training and enjoy a nice taper before the race on October 13.

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