Sunday, April 25, 2010

Competitive Withdrawal Oblivion

After making fun of this book I decided that maybe this dated running book had some merits and decided to peruse it a little further.  With a two weeks to go until my marathon and nothing further to do to increase my readiness, I turned to the chapter "Competition: Transcending the Limitations".  I seriously have limitations that most certainly need to be transcended on race day.  I have been quite the marathon diva lately who likely has been driving her husband/coach and her running partner crazy for at least the last month.  Authors Allan Lawrence and Mark Scheid enlightened me as to why I've been so difficult.  Apparently I am suffering from Competitive Withdrawal Oblivion.   CWO is a state in which "the runner sees little apart from the starting line of the race, hears little of anything that is said to him, and remembers almost nothing of the pre-race activities when questioned after the race."  Those unfortunate enough to be around individuals exhibiting CWO shouldn't be offended by the ignorant, insensitive, or rude mannerisms of runners who suffer this malady. (p. 65)  Oh, how I love a psychological excuse for my poor, self-centered behavior! 

One more week until race day then I'll be back to my normal self.  Until then, here are some of the few things over which I will obsess:
  1. Will my legs show up for the race after being temperamental for the last month?
  2. Will all my speed work pay off and allow me to sustain a 9:10 average pace for 26.2 miles?
  3. Will I be able to fend off trips to the Honey Bucket during the race?
  4. Do I wear my new ultra light Asics DS Gel Trainers or my regular 2140 clod stompers?
  5. Will I be able to operate the highly complicated Garmin 405?  
  6. Will I get that amazing race high feeling that I usually get that gives me that extra boost of energy, speed and endurance?
  7. Will Aunt Flo refrain from visiting on race day?
  8. Will I run the entire race solo or will I meet up with some awesome people to help pass the miles and time?
  9.   Will I cross the finish line victorious or painfully grapevine through it as I recently dreamed?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What? I was Supposed to Start Tapering a Week Ago?

[Warning: This post contains objectionable language.  I am afraid that I swear like a truck driver when I'm mad. Please don't hold this against me.  I'm still a relatively moral, intelligent and classy woman, mother and school teacher.]

Why did the marathon group have their longest run today? I wondered as I read a Facebook post from the ERC Marathon Team coach.  The previous day my running partner and I had opted for hitting the trails for our short "long" run of 13 miles or 2 hours whichever should come first.  The previous weekend we did 20 so it was time to rest up with a lower mileage long run day.  Other than my spring break slack-fest, I had been following my marathon training plan as only an OCD Type A person would.  I frantically went through my file of marathon training plans from the past and compared them to those that I had carefully crafted for Eugene 2010.  To my horror they all confirmed that I was a week behind schedule.  This meant that rather than having the customary and highly recommended three week taper period, that I would only have two weeks.  How the hell did this happen?  I was furious!  I was worried.  Should I go ahead with the 23 mile run I had scheduled for the following weekend or should I start tapering now?  Increase endurance and confidence or rest the old weary legs?  It was as if my life flashed before my eyes.  I had been carefully training for over 18 weeks and I might risk jeopardizing all that by fucking up my training weeks like a dumb ass.  SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!!!!

As if that weren't bad enough, my IT band hurt like a mofo.  It hurt just to walk.  It felt like 26.2 wasps were stinging me in the same 9 square inches of my leg each time it lifted up off the ground.  I retired all my shoes with heels, my Uggs, and basically anything remotely fashionable to try to salvage the last few muscles in my feet and legs that were still functioning.  Running shoes and Keens were my foot wear of choice.  This lack of cute shoes decreased my cute outfit options which in turn, didn't do much to lift my spirits.  

The night before my scheduled 23 miler, I surfed the web for some reassurance that a two week taper wouldn't be disastrous.  9 out of 10 resources supported three week long tapering.  This wasn't helping... I sought reassurance from my on-line running comrades.  They were all encouraging and supportive.  A running acquaintance of mine who ran Boston last year did so with a two week taper period and did very well.  Should I run 23 miles?  Even if I should, could I with the way my legs were feeling this week?  Steve, my husband, my coach, ultra-runner, man who has been running for flipping 30 plus years, pulled an old dusty running book from the 1980s off a shelf, rifled through and spewed a quote that two weeks are customary lengths for tapering.  He closed the book and with finality turned his attention away from me probably hoping that I would drop the subject and leave him alone.  What?!  This book was nearly older than me!  Gu energy gel hadn't even been invented yet!  Hell, there was one point that marathoners didn't even drink WATER?  For all I know, that could've been when the book was published.  Seriously?  What the hell did they know about distance running back then?  He sighed loudly and reassured me.  "You'll be fine.  Go out there and do it.  If you feel crummy, stop at the 15 mile or 19 mile point when you run near the car for water and food."  He was obviously done with this topic and ready to move on.

It's not in my nature to let something like this go.  I would analyze it, scrutinize it and get to bottom of the problem even though it was too late to do anything about it.  I am a planner, an organizer.  I couldn't let this go.  I needed to know how I FUCKED up so that I can prevent it from EVER happening again for AS LONG as I LIVE.  I  checked my on-line training plan and found that it allowed for a three week taper and that I indeed was a week behind.  Spring break slack fest.  It had to have been the culprit.  I felt that terrible foreboding feeling as  I tore throught the pages of my spiral bound running log (One can never have too many means of recording their running data.) to confirm my theory.  No, that wasn't it.  Upon close inspection I noticed that my log revealed that I had another week left until the marathon!  All my calendars and everyone else must be wrong!  Wait a minute... I have never been good with numbers.  Could it have been my error?  Upon close inspection of the dates, I discovered that after 4/19/10 came 4/14/10 followed by 4/15/10 and on, and on until you essentially have another week! 

Mystery solved.  I couldn't  believe it.  I hope that my marathon dreams don't go out the window because of some pesky date errors in my first ever running log.  What's done is done.  I'd have to make a decision.  I limped around the house, getting my Gu gels, Fig Newtons, water bottles and clothes together, I looked over the "Hands Free 23" that my amazing running partner, Laura had carefully crafted for the two of us.  She had gone out bought Gummi Bears, Lay's potato chips and water and stowed them away at various parts of our course that afternoon so we wouldn't have to carry anything and would have aid at least every four miles.  It really was a fine course, with plenty of bail out options that I could take if necessary.  My mind was ready for the run, my body would follow suit once it got started right?  It was my last long run with Laura who had been training for this thing with me.  Once again I was eternally grateful to have such a fabulous running partner.  In the end, she was the reason I made the 11th hour decision to quit whining and get out there running bright and early the following morning.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Maiden Voyage of My New Shoes

Say hello to my little friends.  I am the proud owner of a pair of Asics DS Trainers.  Compared to my Asics 2150 road shoes and 2150 trail shoes, these babies are super lightweight.  I'm counting on these new kicks, along with all the hard work that I've put in the last few months, to get me through the Eugene Marathon with the ultimate PR in less than 4 weeks.

I took these pink ladies for their maiden voyage today.  It was a beautiful sunny 70 degree day here in Eugene.  According to my marathon training plan and advice of hubby/coach, I was slated to run a nine mile cut down tempo run.  Before last night, I had never even heard of such a thing.  Today I would attempt to execute one with a gimpy leg.  Some muscle in my right leg has been giving me a load of grief for the last couple weeks.  I've been taking three Advil at least twice a day to keep the pain and mobility under control.  I was keenly aware of it during my mile warm up and wished for the umpteeth time that I was able to get an earlier appointment with my chiropractor to fix me up.  I had doubts that I'd be able to run seven consecutive miles, without rests, at increasing speeds.  I was supposed to start at 8:45 min/mi and cut back a few seconds after each mile for seven miles before cooling down. 

Fortunately Steve and the girls met me around two miles into the run.  They were playing at the playground by the park.  I was able to whine to Steve about my leg and how I doubted that I'd be able to do the distance and certainly wouldn't be able to run at the speed I was supposed to.  He listened without comment and fetched me an emergency Gu from our car, along with a drink of water.  I really just wanted him to take me home, but instead I handed him the sunglasses that I no longer needed and went on with my workout.  I was thankful for the brief companionship and encouragement from my sweet family.  I peeled out of there trying to look good running away from Steve in my running skirt at what felt like time warp speed. 

Thankfully my leg loosened up and I got into a nice rhythm.  I felt light and quick in my new shoes.  At times I was aware of the surface below my feet (uneven pavement, sticks, rocks on the path, etc.) as the Asics trainers are more minimal than what I'm accustomed to.  The shoes were comfy and supportive.  They passed my inspection.  The cut-down tempo run on the other hand...

Wowsers, are cut-down tempo runs ever tough!  I'd run my heart out for a mile, be overjoyed that I survived the whole ordeal, then have to run another one even faster!  There was no built in reward system like with intervals where you get rests in between your tough parts.  It truly is a masochistic workout.  I knew that this was similar to how I had planned to run my marathon so it was good practice.  Even though the miles were grueling, my confidence increased with each one. I was able to go faster than I thought for longer than I thought.  Thank you Steve for believing in me and setting up a workout that I otherwise wouldn't have attempted! 

I am happy to report that I clocked the miles fairly close to what I was supposed to.  Warm up mile, cut down seven miles: 9:24 (oops, slow but I was working through some leg issues & figuring out the watch) 8:36, 8:35, 8:33, 8:22 (hello!), 8:24 (am I done yet?), 8: 22 (Done! Woot!), cool down mile.  I must say that I felt like an athlete out there today in my shiny new shoes.  

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Crunching Numbers for March Running

Mileage totals:
  • March:  134.05  
  • for the year:  371.93

Summary of speed work:  Whew!  I can't believe I squeezed in four of these!
  • 4 mile tempo run w/ 8:14 mi/mi ave pace & .5 rests in between.  1 mi. w/up + 1 mi c/d
  • 7 Yasso 800s w/ 7:45 min/mi ave pace.  2.75 mi w/up & .5 mi c/d
  • 3x2mi intervals w/ 8:30 mi/mi ave pace & 3-1/2 min recovery in between.  Then 3x200m w/ 7:40 min/mi ave pace.  1 mi w/up & 1.5 mi c/d
  • 8 mile tempo run w/ 9:05 min/mi ave pace
Summary of long runs: Ouch!  I missed an important 18 mile run last weekend. I am not proud to report the following.  To make myself feel better, I am reminding myself that I ran Hagg Lake 25 K on Feb. 20 and then ran 17 road miles on 2/27..
  • 13 miles on Ridgeline Trail
  • 20 miles on river bike path 
  • 14 miles on river bike path
Easy and recovery runs:  Got these in on the trail and road.  Averaged 5 days of running a week except during spring break 

New iTune downloads:  Gotta keep the tuneage fresh to put in the mileage
  • Sugar by Flo Rida
  • Use Someone by Kings of Leon
  • Runnin' Down a Dream by Tom Petty
  • Kryponite by 3 Doors Down
  • According to You by Orianthi
Final thoughts:
All this road running is beating up my body and boring my mind.  I can't wait to have this marathon in the bag so that I can get back to the glorious trails.  I finally made an appointment to see my chiropractor for some adjustments and ART as I am feeling discomfort in my left achilles and right hamstring.  Love the new Asics 2150 Trail shoes.  I'm looking forward to buying a pair of lightweight shoes for speed work and race day.