For Time or Distance?

I’ve been doing some reading lately.  About running.  Specifically marathon training.  And I’ve seen lots of people saying the same thing.  At first I pretty well dismissed it, but I just KEEP seeing it, so it’s pretty hard to just ignore.  And the people saying it?  Yeah, they’re no idiots.  So now I’m a little perplexed.  What is it I’m talking about?  This.

“There is no physical or aerobic benefit to running beyond three hours.”

I didn’t bookmark anything to link back to, and I’m not going to cite anyone in particular, but this seems to be a VERY popular opinion.  If three hours gets you 22 miles, great.  If three hours gets you 15 miles, so be it.
If I continue doing my long runs the way I have been–running comfortably and walking every mile–3 hours would get me to about 16 miles.  That just seems BONKERS to me, to go into race day only having run 16 miles!  I know the Hanson Brothers plan only goes up to 16, and lots of people go on to run a successful marathon with that plan.  But I just don’t think I could do it.  The thought scares the crap out of me.  Would I love to ditch my 18- and 20-mile training runs?  HELL YEAH I WOULD!  But I’m just not sure I could get to the starting line feeling prepared if I did.
So what’s your opinion?  How long should your longest training run be?  Have you ever gone into a marathon on less-than-optimal training?  Do you follow the three-hour rule, or do you do the commonly accepted 20 or even 22 miles?
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St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 4

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  3                                      Tuesday:  3 @ 9:43
Wednesday:  6                                 Wednesday:  Pity party
Thursday:  3                                     Thursday:  Pity part with alcohol
Friday:  Rest                                    Friday:  Rest
Saturday: 11                                    Saturday:  11 @ 11:14
Sunday:  Cross                                Sunday:  30 min of spin + upper body and core

Total:  23                                         Total:  14

What was supposed to have been my highest weekly mileage of this cycle turned out to be one of the lowest of the summer.  Yes, I let stress get the best of me this week.  Yes, I regret it.  And, yes, I will pull my head out of my ass and get back on track this week.

Tuesday was done with my speedy buddy, T, but was a little slower this week.  It was warmer and more humid than it has been the past couple of weeks, and I was just tired.  I’ve been super stressed and not sleeping well lately, so this is where having a running buddy is going to pay off.  I guarantee you I wouldn’t have run Tuesday either if I hadn’t had a date to meet T.

I was dreading Saturday’s 11.  I mean really dreading.  It was my first double-digit run since March, and my heart just wasn’t in it.  Until I started running.  How long is it going to take me to learn that???  It always gets better the minute the rubber meets the road!  Anyway, I left the house about 6:30 and it was pretty pleasant outside.  Since it was a little cooler, I decided to stretch the walk breaks out to every two miles instead of every mile, and that worked out fine. I realized about three miles away from home that I didn’t bring any fuel with me.  I’ll usually have a GU or Clif Shot or something during anything longer than 10, but it’s been so long since I’ve done that distance that I completely spaced and forgot to grab one.  So all I had during those 11 miles was some lukewarm water out of a fountain in the park at about mile 7.25.  By the time I got back home, I was glad to be done.  It wasn’t horrible, but I was just tired of running mentally and I was fading physically.  Not the best run but FAR from the worst.  Although I was a little disheartened when I logged the run and saw that it was my slowest 11 miles ever.  Three things kept me from getting really upset by that fact.  First, I’ve never run 11 miles in August before.  It’s always been in cooler months… October, February, and March.  Second, during none of those other 11-milers did I take scheduled walk breaks.  Third, no fuel.

I expected to be sore today from my long effort on yesterday, but surprisingly I’m not!  That just reinforces to me that I’m doing it right this time by taking it easier.  I actually had even planned to run again today to make up for some of the missed mileage, but the day positively got away from me.  Instead I found myself on my spin bike at 9:00 pm just to get SOMETHING in.

Basically it was a craptastic week and that crap spilled over into my training.  It’s all good though.  It happens.  Tomorrow is a new week!

Tuesday Tidbits

  • The job postings went up this morning.  The job I want was on the list!  That is a huge relief.  That means I can apply for it as well as the others I’d rather not have but would be willing to take as a last resort if I don’t get this one.  There are about 60 locations on the list, so I have some homework to do to find out which ones are worth applying for.
  • I finally booked my room for RnR St. Louis.  I’ll be staying at the Missouri Athletic Club.  I never would have thought about that, but it was featured on the Travel page of the RnR web site.  It’s close to everything, cheaper than most of the hotels, and even though they won’t allow a late checkout (they have a huge wedding that evening and have to have all those rooms vacated as early as possible), I can go back and use their locker room to shower after the race.  Win-win-win!
  • I’ve also booked a room for the Little Rock Marathon next March.  And by “booked a room” I mean talked to my Mom’s BFF to make sure I can crash at her place again this year.  😉
  • I have to be satisfied with those two short trips for the time being because the whole work debacle has screwed us out of our late-summer vacation again this year.  Two years running now.
  • Our neighbors are moving out, and the family moving in has FIVE FREAKING KIDS.  FIVE.  We heard six at first, but I guess when you have that many it’s easy to miscount.  And I’m banking on them being spoiled little shits because the dad is a surgeon.  I’m so not looking forward to this.  
  • I think our poor tree is finally a goner.  It was struck by lightning two years ago, but we’ve been holding out hope for it because one section on it still seemed to be alive.  The last two springs that part of the tree has bloomed and had leaves.  Well, last week all those leaves in that green section turned brown pretty much overnight.  I guess it’s time for it to come down.  I hate that.  😦  It’s our only tree besides the two small pin oaks we have in the front yard that we planted when we moved in.
Anybody else doing RnR St. Louis this year? 

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 3

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  3                                      Tuesday:  3 @ 9:24
Wednesday:  5                                 Wednesday:  Rest
Thursday:  3                                     Thursday:  Rest
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  3 @ 10:45
Saturday:  6                                      Saturday:  6 @ 10:11 + 22 min on the spin bike
Sunday:  Cross                                 Sunday:  5 @ 11:07

I was definitely a weekend warrior last week.  Because do you know how hard it is to get motivated to run on Wednesday and Thursday when it’s 90+ degrees but you can look two days into the forecast and see highs in the low 80s with mornings in the 50s???  Yep, that was me last week.  I know that running 82% of your weekly mileage over a 48-hour period isn’t the best idea, but since it was a cutback week and the mileage was low anyway, it worked.  So there.

Tuesday I ran with my new running buddy, T, in the park again.  There’s no doubt about it.  She’s gonna make me faster.

Friday after work I took Bella and Harley out for 1.5 miles each to make up for an easy 3.  Although it wasn’t all easy.  Harley is the perfect little running partner, but Bella… she makes it more of an interval workout.  Sprint, stop to pee, sprint, stop to pee… She calms down after a mile or so once the initial excitement levels off.  🙂

Saturday morning I was up and out the door at 6:45 for this week’s “long” run of six miles.  My first cutback week of the training plan.  It was a very welcome cool 59 degrees when I started running!  It was such a pleasant run.  Since it was so nice and so short I didn’t walk at the mile like I’ve been doing during long runs.  I just ran and enjoyed it and finished feeling fantastic and fresh.  It’s truly amazing what a few degrees will do.

And then I pedaled the spin bike for a few minutes while watching Revenge of the Nerds.

Sunday evening I went out for three solo miles then came home and got the doggies for two more to make up for the last mid-week five-miler that I missed, so that caught me up for the week.

Three weeks down, 15 to go!  Shit’s about to get real this week.  Eleven miles this weekend.  My first double-digit run since March.  Should be interesting…

Is it Killing Me or Making Me Stronger? I’m Pretty Sure it’s the Former.

I’m trying so very, very hard to stay positive and not let the situation wear me down, but it’s getting harder and harder every day.

My job is gonna kill me, y’all.  We’ve already established that I’m very Type A, and everything is just so unstable and unpredictable right now.  That doesn’t bode well with an extreme Type A.  It would be easier to tell this story if I could give specifics, but my company forbids anyone post anything about it in any type of social media, so I have to speak very generally…

I’ve mentioned before that I’m in a different office on a detail assignment right now.  The position I’m filling in for is technically vacant, and it’s one that I want so bad that I can taste it.  Well, if I had it MY way, I’d stay in MY office, but that is no longer an option.  That full-time job is going away soon, so like it or not I have to go somewhere.  And since I have to go somewhere, I would LIKE for it to be this office.  I’ve been under the impression for a while that the vacancy was going to be posted this fall, and I assumed it would be at the same time as all the other vacant offices.  Well, the first round of postings  goes up on Tuesday, and this office is not scheduled to be on there.  It won’t be posted until later.  Possibly as late as 2014.  I’m so freaking scared.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.  This office is my first choice, being as it’s close to home, but I can’t NOT put in for these other offices that are posted in the meantime.  If I don’t apply for them and then I DON’T get this office when it’s posted down the road, I’m pretty much just fucked.  But if I do put in for those offices and get one of them, they[ll probably consider me “placed” and not even consider me for another transfer when this office is posted.  At least not until the dust has settled after the looming September 2014 date when everyone has to be placed, cut back to part-time, or separated.

The absolute worst part is that all but one of these offices up for bid now are out of the daily driveable range.  Meaning I would have to move.  Get an apartment, go to work through the week, and come home on the weekends.  The thought of that is tearing me up inside.

And if all of that going on right now isn’t enough, throw a huge nationwide audit on top of it.  Yep.  Every year or two, a nationwide two- or four-week audit of the delivery routes goes down.  Those weeks are always super stressful even when nothing else is going on.  When you add that onto everything else that is going on, it’s a fucking miracle any of us have any sanity left.  So in the next few weeks I’ll be dealing with that audit, applying for jobs that I don’t want but have to have in order to stay employed full-time, potentially going asshole deep in debt because we are still in the process of trying to buy the body shop my husband manages, and depending on whether or not I am awarded one of those jobs, maybe moving away from my home and my little family.  Oh and then there’s this little marathon thing I’m training for…

So if you find me sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth and blowing spit bubbles, now you’ll know why.

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 2

Another week in the books.  This week had its share of ups and downs.  More downs than I’d like to be encountering this early in training.

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  3                                      Tuesday:  Rest
Wednesday:  5                                 Wednesday:  3 @ 9:48
Thursday:  3                                     Thursday:  5.1 @ 11:29
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  9                                      Saturday:  2 @ 10:52
Sunday:  Cross                                 Sunday:  9 @ 11:08

After last Sunday’s 8, my knee was sore.  The same knee that gave me a fit two years ago, but an entirely different pain in an entirely different location.  It was more sore on Monday and still not 100% Tuesday, so I took another rest day and continued with ice and anti-inflammatories.  By Wednesday it was completely back to normal.

Wednesday, I had to run earlier than I like to, so I just took a change of clothes to work with me and went directly to the park after I got off.  It was still 98 degrees, but about half of the 0.75-mile trail is shaded.  That was the best I could hope for.  I had just gotten started when I ran into an acquaintance running the loop in the opposite direction.  That first time we passed we did the whole, “Hey girl, how you doin’?” thing.  The second time we met, I asked her what pace she was running.  She laughed and said she didn’t know, so I took a chance and turned around and joined her.  I say “took a chance” because that girl is wicked fast.  Like 1:52 half marathon fast.  But we ran the rest of my three together and it was so much fun!  It was SO hot, and she made me run them faster than I would have ordinarily run in 100-degree weather (and I was still slowing her down), but it was really cool to have someone to run with for a change.  Would you believe that in the three years I’ve been running, besides getting to run one 14-miler with my bestie while she was in town when we were training for Vegas, Wednesday is THE FIRST TIME I have ever run with someone.  And I don’t think it was a one run stand.  We made a date to do it again next Tuesday and Wednesday.  🙂

The bad news is that after that 3 my knee hurt again.  The good news is that it responded to ice alone this time (no Aleve).

Thursday’s 5 was BRUTAL.  It was hot, sunny, humid as hell, and I just couldn’t breathe.  I kept having to stop and walk.  I’ve been intentionally walking at every mile on my long runs, but my short midweek runs I haven’t been walking.  Not until Thursday.  I don’t know what was up.  My legs felt great, but my heart and lungs just weren’t having any part of running that day.

What I meant to do was get up Saturday morning and run 9 and then run an easy 3 Sunday as a recovery run to make up for a missed mid-week 3 miles.  Hey, my intentions were good.  But instead I slept in on Saturday and squeezed in an easy 2 before D and I headed out of town for the day.

It was much cooler Sunday morning than what I’ve been used to running in lately, but like an idiot I didn’t get an early start and take advantage of the cool temps.  It was still cooler, but I waited until the sun was out in full force before I started. (Damn you, Olympics!)  The first few were okay, while the sun was at my back, but coming home it was right in my face.  I don’t know about you, but the difference between a cloudy or shady 75 degrees and a sunny 75 degrees is the difference between life and death for me.  But I got through it with my one-minute walk at every mile (and an extra stop at a business on my way home to drink from their water spigot).  It wasn’t the best run, but it was far from the worst.  And as of right now, several hours after finishing, my knee is perfectly fine.  So WOOHOO for that!

Onward and upward!

Green

I’m not the best at doing my own research.  Lots of times I depend on other people to do the leg work for me.  Not just anybody though.  Over the past few months to couple of years I’ve made connections with people who share my values and beliefs, people who have put a LOT of time and energy into educating themselves and others regarding their health.  My friend Shelly at Plant Hungry is one of those. Recently she did a blog post highlighting the benefits of spirulina and barley grass juice.  Sounded good to me!  As I mentioned before, I’ve been trying to fill in the gaps and add more beneficial, energizing, and detoxifying things to my diet, so I ordered some from iHerb.  It came in on Wednesday, so the past couple of mornings I’ve enjoyed one of these on my way to work.

I would NEVER hold my drink and the steering wheel with one hand while taking a picture with the other! That’s just dangerous.

I think the kelp powder I bought a while back has made me gun shy.  I’m not sure what I was expecting when I took that first drink, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Unlike the kelp powder, which has a strong fish-ass flavor (so strong that the only way I can handle it is about half a teaspoon at a time buried deep in a huge fruit smoothie), this stuff has a pleasant green taste to it.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  It just tastes… GREEN.  Nice.  Healthy.  So, yeah… I can’t honestly say that it’s a pick-me-up like Shelly says it is for her, but after reading about all the benefits of both, it’s something I feel good about putting in my body.  Both will for sure be a staple from now on.

Do you use either of these products?  Or anything similar?

If you’ve never ordered from iHerb before, you can use the code JUF111 for $5 off your first order.


500 miles

I feel pretty lame posting about hitting 500 miles when so many of you have already hit 1,000 for the year, but damnit it’s my blog and my milestone, so I’ll celebrate it if I want to!

After I logged my 5.1 mile run tonight, my log summary looked like this.

I had said I wanted to hit 1,000 miles in 2012, so I’m only, what, a month and 9 days behind?  It’s still doable, right? …. RIGHT????  Oh, hell, I know it’s doable.  The real question is will I suck it up and do it????

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 1

There are some things I can do well.  Apparently counting to 18 is not one of them.  I had been thinking for weeks that my 18-week marathon training program started on 7/23, but it actually didn’t start until 7/30.  Why I picked a marathon that would have me start training right smack in the middle of the sweltering southern summer is beyond me.

For now, the only goal is to get the miles in.  Screw a track workout.  Screw a tempo run.  Just run.  That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing all summer.  I started off with every intention of keeping up a track regimen through the summer, but I pretty much bailed on that after just a couple of weeks.  I’m such a hot-weather wuss.  I was worried that my speed would suffer for it, but those fears were laid to rest one day a couple of weeks ago. It was actually a cooler evening, less humid, and my 3-mile run was in the 9:30s and was extremely comfortable.  So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing for now and then sprinkle in some track and tempo workouts for my short runs when it cools off.  But for now, hot = slow.

Planned                                           Actual
Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  3                                      Tuesday:  3 @ 10:37
Wednesday:  5                                 Wednesday:  Rest
Thursday:  3                                     Thursday:  5.1 @ 10:52
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  8                                      Saturday:  2.7ish? @ ?  (Ran naked)
Sunday:  Cross                                 Sunday:  8 @ 10:58 followed by 20 min spin then strength training

I had to juggle things around a bit because of working late a couple of times and an after-work hair appointment, but I got the mileage in.  I consider week one a success!  One down, 17 to go!

CSA Update

Things are still going good on the CSA front.  We’ve gotten some much-needed rain the past few weeks, so the yield has picked up over what it was there for a couple of weeks, but we’re to a point now that things are getting pretty repetitive.  Lots of typical summertime veggies.  It makes for delicious salads but very boring blog posts, so I’ve refrained.  I’ve been positively slammed with tomatoes, and let’s face it, you can only eat so many of those in a day before you get acid burns on your tongue.  I’m not ready to delve into canning yet, so instead I oven-dried and froze a lot of the cherry tomatoes.  I started with a couple of cookie sheets of this

which several hours later looked like this.

They were freaking delicious.  I think I ate as many straight out of the oven as I froze.  Aside from the tomatoes, I’ve also been hammered with eggplant and potatoes.  Again, how many of those can you really eat?!  And I don’t even know if there is a way to preserve either of those.  I just gave my mom several pounds of potatoes, but nobody else will eat eggplant, so as much as it hurts my heart I’ve had to toss a couple of those.  I HATE throwing out food!!!!  I’ve been trying to find yummy eggplant recipes, but it seems like everything is either a ratatouille or a pasta.  I did find this one and made these.

Photo borrowed from link above.  I certainly don’t make things that pretty.

They were pretty damn delicious, but that only used up like half an eggplant, leaving me with 4-1/2 left in the fridge.

There have been some nice little surprises in the baskets lately.  I didn’t realize that we would get as much fruit as we’ve been getting.  I knew we’d get blueberries and blackberries, but we’ve also had concord grapes, apricots, and granny smith apples the past three weeks!  Bonus!

The farm owner sent out a notice that the pickup this past Thursday would be the last one for a few weeks.  They are winding down on their summer harvest and preparing the fields for the fall crops.  They expect it to be about a three week break but will keep us posted.  Honestly I’m kind of glad.  I really have enjoyed the CSA but I’m ready for a break too.  I’m kind of getting burned out on eating the same produce over and over again.   I miss the variety we had in the early season!  If I had help eating it, it would be different, but my husband won’t touch a vegetable, so I’ve been eating a full family share of produce by myself.  It’s either that or it goes bad.  So, yeah, I’m burned out.   I hope I don’t see another eggplant for a loooooong time…