St. Jude Marathon Goals

This is only my second marathon, and the first one I’ve had a time goal for.  For #1 all I wanted to do was finish under the 5:30 cutoff.  I finished in 5:27:08.  I expect more from myself this time.  I have a very specific goal in mind, and that’s why I’ve been so nervous this week.  I’ve been stalking the weather like a mad woman because I know that temperature absolutely makes or breaks me. My ideal running temp is in the 35-45 degree range.  (It was 34 with a wind chill of 24 when I ran my awesome 8 last weekend.)  I have absolutely no hope of that being the case this weekend.  I actually started my weather stalking on Thanksgiving Day, the day that 12/1 showed up in the 10-day forecast.  It showed 58 and mostly cloudy.  I was pretty dang happy with that.  Then by Saturday they had changed it to 62 and partly cloudy.  I was less happy.  Today it’s up to 68 and partly cloudy, 51 at start, 65 by 1:00.  That’s entering scary territory there.  And not what I was hoping for when I signed up for a December marathon.

Anyway…

Goal A – Less than 4:56:33.
Goal B – Less than 5:00.
Those are the only two goals I will be happy with.  Period.  But still, just in case shit doesn’t go as I’m planning…  (This IS a marathon after all… we all know how much of a tricky bitch she can be.)  
C Goal – Less than 5:27:08.
That would give me a PR at least.  Anything more than that and I just may as well DNF as far as I’m concerned.

If anyone cares to check in on me, you can track me here.  I’m #1302.  If (when) things get rough, maybe just knowing that you all are watching will help me keep putting one foot in front of the other!

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St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 17

Planned                                           Actual

Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  4                                      Tuesday:  Rest
Wednesday:  3                                 Wednesday:  4.5 @ 11.02
Thursday:  4                                     Thursday:  Eating this much really should qualify as x-training
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday: 3 @ 9:46
Saturday:  8                                     Saturday:  8 @ 9:48 + 0.7 @ 10:53
Sunday:  Cross-train                        Sunday:  4 @ 11:18
Total:  19 miles                                 Total:  20.2 miles

Ah, so this is what a taper done correctly feels like!  To be as tired as I was just a week and a half, two weeks ago, I’ve got energy to burn now.  I mean just look at that 8 miler!  That was a sweet note to end a training cycle on.  I was just cruising and I felt like I could have gone all day.  HUUUUUUUUGE difference from two years ago when I was training for Vegas.  Just out of curiosity, I looked back in my log to see how my last long run was back then.  It was 9 miles at an 11:12 pace, and in the notes I mentioned that I felt tired and heavy.  (And as a side note, I was four pounds heavier.)  While I still don’t feel like I’m ready, I’m a hell of a lot more prepared than I was two years ago!

So now we’re entering the final countdown.  This week will only be three runs of 3, 2, and 2 miles.  There’s no point in even talking about that, so this will be my final St. Jude Marathon Training recap post.   Six more sleeps until Race Day!!!!  Does this look like the face of someone ready to run a marathon???  Let’s hope so!

Mish Mash

My mind is so jumbled up right now, it’s hard for me to form a coherent thought, much less a coherent blog post, so this is what you get.

  • This was my first vegan Thanksgiving.  It was awesome.  I just made a few dishes and took them to my in-laws’ and made my plate from those dishes, plus a couple of other veggie sides that were there.  Perfect!  (My only cheat was a big ol’ spoonful of my MIL’s potato salad, which has mayo in it.  Her potato salad is worth a cheat.  It’s what I look forward to most at every family get-together.)
  • I’m in the final days of marathon training and I just can’t shake the feeling that I’M NOT READY.
  • Through 17 weeks of training, my IT band has not hurt once and NOW in my lowest mileage week in who knows how long it decides to hurt???  It hurts so bad that it is sore to the touch.  You can FEEL how tight it is just by rubbing the outside of my thigh.  It’s like strumming a guitar string.  The funny thing is that it doesn’t hurt when I run, so that’s good.  I’ve been rolling but apparently not good enough, so I’ll be giving it hell the next few days to make sure I can make it through 26.2 with no problems.
  • Several days ago I got a letter from my old church basically shunning me.  I hadn’t been attending the last several months because I really had an issue with the way some things were handled there.  Well, the letter pointed out the fact that I have neglected the commandment to “assemble and exhort one another” and told me that I was no longer acting as a devoted child of God because of my lack of attendance, and went on to say that because of this it would affect how the members of that church would deal with me in the community.  It basically said since I no longer go to church there, they can no longer have anything to do with me.  It was very cultish.  I’ve always struggled with organized religion but was finally baptized when I was 30, but this horse shit has got me really questioning a lot of things again.
  • My husband turned 40 last week.  He took it like a champ.
  • D is the one that turned 40, and I’m the one freaking out about showing my age.  It seems like every time I look in the mirror I see a new line.  I’m seriously thinking about getting myself Botox for Christmas instead of the Vitamix I’ve been wanting.
  • Bella’s knee has gotten worse over the holiday, and her doctor won’t be back in until Monday.  She’s barely putting any weight on it, but she is still acting her same goofy self, trying to run and play, all tail wags, and her appetite is still good, so I don’t feel like she’s in major distress.  For that reason, I haven’t wanted to interrupt the on-call vet’s holiday weekend and will just wait to talk to her vet on Monday.  I feel like I’ll be playing nurse to a post-op pup in the next few days.  Yay for huge vet bills right here at Christmas…

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 16

Planned                                           Actual

Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  2 mile walk
Tuesday:  5                                      Tuesday:  5.1 @ 11:00
Wednesday:  4                                 Wednesday:  Rest
Thursday:  5                                     Thursday:  4 @ 11:17
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday: Rest
Saturday:  12                                    Saturday:  12 @ 10:35
Sunday:  Cross-train                        Sunday:  5.2 @ 10:00
Total:  26 miles                                 Total:  26.3

I can sum this week up in two words.  I’M TIRED.

Maybe that means I did it right?  Maybe after 15 weeks of training culminating with a 20-miler is SUPPOSED to leave you feeling like this?

My legs felt surprisingly good after Sunday’s 20-mile shitfest.  I took Harley out for a two-mile walk (We have strict orders for rest for poor Bella.  We’re trying to avoid surgery, but it’s looking like it’s inevitable.) just to kind of stretch them out a bit, and that felt nice.

I felt kind of off on Tuesday’s 5.  I really didn’t feel sore.  Just… clumsy.  Awkward.  Sluggish.  Tiiiiiiiired.  I thought maybe taking another rest day would help with the tired feeling, but no.  It’s been all I could do just to get through the work days.  But I went back at it on Thursday anyway and slogged through 4 miles, and then I was asleep by 8:30.

After taking another rest day Friday, I finally felt a little better Saturday and had a little more energy.  I made it through the 12 at a 10:35 pace.  I felt pretty great during the run, but afterwards the tiredness hit me like a ton of bricks again.  After showering I fell asleep on the couch and slept for a couple of hours, and and I still had to stop at Starbucks for a jolt just to make it through our evening out that night.  SO DAMN TIRED.

Today’s 5.2 was actually the best run of the week, so maybe I’m on the up and up.  I’m eager to continue cutting the mileage back this week.  Hopefully that’ll help with my energy level!

Taper madness?  PSHT!  This is my favorite part!

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 15

Planned                                           Actual

Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  5                                      Tuesday:  5 @ 9:20 (No, that is NOT a typo!)
Wednesday:  5                                 Wednesday:  Got my hur did
Thursday:  5                                     Thursday:  5.1 @ 11:21 (1% incline)
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  Rest
Saturday:  20                                    Saturday:  Rest
Sunday:  Cross-train                        Sunday: 20 @ 11:26
Total:  35 miles                                 Total:  30.21 miles

I don’t know what the hell got into me on Tuesday.  I just felt like runnin’.  (Tell the truth, you read that in Forrest Gump’s voice, didn’t you?)  Considering that I had just run 19 miles two days before, I was SHOCKED that my legs felt that awesome.  Splits were 9:26, 9:27, 9:30, 9:08, 9:08.  What?!

Wednesday I didn’t run because I was busy getting beautified after work.

Thursday was a slow, easy 5.1 on the treadmill.  I set the speed to 5.3, the incline to 1.0, the TV to Big Bang Theory, and just ran.

I had planned on making up Wednesday’s missed mileage on Friday, but when I got off work Friday evening, I was just beat.  Plain and simple.  Exhausted.  Not an ounce of energy left in me, and knowing that I had to get up early the next morning and do it all over again, I bailed.  Friday night was a pizza/ass planted on couch night.  Saturday was no more productive.  I briefly considered running my missed 5 miles on Saturday but then thought better of it knowing that I had 20 coming up the next day.

Ugh… the 20-miler… The story of Sunday’s 20-miler is here.

So I guess it’s all downhill from here.  I honestly don’t know how I feel about that.  My training is basically done, but I don’t feel like I’m trained well enough.  Sure, I’ll survive the 26.2 miles, but I’ve already done that once.  I don’t want to just survive it again.  I have a time goal this time, and I’m worried that I’m not well enough trained to meet that goal.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough…  for now, IT’S TAPER TIME!

The End.

Okay, maybe it’s not the end yet, but I feel like in a lot of ways the training cycle is pretty much over after you hit the last long run.  Some refer to it as the punctuation mark at the end of a training cycle.

My 20-miler was this morning.  It was more of a SERIES of punctuation marks… $#%@!!!!!!!!

The wind whipped my ass all over town this morning, and it was much warmer than I’ve gotten used to the past few long runs.  When you combine those two things, it did not equal a very pleasant long run for me at all.

I probably could have handled the temperature (66 and the sun disappeared after about mile 10), but that wind… OMG.  It was brutal.  I was maintaining a decent pace, but I was having to put forth soooo much effort to do so.  If I had been smarter (and more humble), I would have just kept my exertion level where it usually is during a long run and just let the wind slow my pace down.  But I didn’t, and I ended up hitting a wall at about mile 16.  I stopped dead in my tracks, leaned over and put my hands on my knees, fought back tears, and seriously considered laying down in the road in front of the next passing semi.  I eventually started back up, but I changed my route and headed home.  I made it back to the house at mile 17.5 with plans of finishing up the last 2.5 on the treadmill.  After getting something to drink, I hopped on.  I just didn’t have it.  I felt weak and heavy and tired, and I just. didn’t. have it.  I paused it after one mile.  A less stubborn person would have called it a day, but not this ol’ girl.  I decided to just rest a few minutes and maybe get some more calories in me.  I made my usual post-long run protein smoothie and sat down to rest.  Well, when I stopped moving I got COLD, so I did what any normal person would do–pulled off my sweaty shirt and bra and covered up with a blanket on the couch while I had my smoothie and watched Andy Griffith.  Next thing I knew, it was almost 12:00 and D was waking me up asking me what the hell I was doing asleep half nekkid on the couch.  It’s a good thing he’s used to me doing random off-the-wall shit like that.  Well, it’s amazing what that smoothie and that 45-minute break did for me.  I got back on the treadmill (after I put on a bra, obviously) and finished up the last 1.5 at a faster pace than I had run all day, bringing the total to 20 miles, with energy to spare.

I’m really trying not to dwell on it too much, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sad that this training cycle ended on such a shitty note.  Isn’t there an old saying in theater that if the dress rehearsal is a disaster then opening day will be perfect?  Well, if that’s the case I’ll be qualifying for Boston in three weeks!

3 Random Acts of Kindness

I love random acts of kindness.  It warms my heart to think that maybe…just MAYBE… the human race doesn’t completely suck.  I’ve recently heard about a couple that I’m getting in on, and I thought maybe you might like to, too.

1.     A friend of a friend of a friend (so a friend thrice removed?) has just had some things stolen, and all of her Christmas ornaments were among the items taken.  So the friend TWICE removed has organized an anonymous ornament drive!  She is asking that people send one new ornament, absolutely anything, to her friend.  No, losing your Christmas ornaments isn’t the worst thing in the world, but how fun would it be to receive ornaments from all over the place and have no idea who they’re from or how the whole thing got started?!  Just a fun little Christmas thing.  If you want her address, please email me at the address on my sidebar.

2.     Another friend just posted to Facebook last night that her aunt was just diagnosed with cancer and is in need of some cheering up.  She has asked everyone to send a greeting card to her.  Any kind you want.  The aunt has been a huge supporter of my friend’s animal rescue group, and she would love to hear any stories or see pictures of your rescued family members.  Again, email me for her address.

3.     Finally, another friend of mine who is also running the St. Jude Marathon could use your help.  When she registered, she did so as  St. Jude Hero and committed to raising $2,500.  Well, she only has a few days left to hit that goal and is still several hundred dollars short, despite her best efforts.  If you don’t know how the Hero program works, whatever you pledge to raise is what you are COMMITTED to giving them.  If you don’t raise what you pledge, the rest is put on YOUR credit card.  If you’re so inclined, help a sister (and the St. Jude family!) out and donate to my friend’s Hero page HERE.

Man… I am SO getting in the Christmas spirit!!!!  This is so unlike me…

Five Down, Twenty-Eight to Go!

A few weeks ago, I made a list of 33 fun things I want to do before I turn 33.  I’m slowly chiseling away at that little list!  In addition to the two I told you about here, I’ve recently knocked off three more.

22.  Splurge on a pumpkin spice latte this fall at the local coffee shop.

I did the best I could with this one.  I tried to get one at our local shop the night of the canvas painting class but didn’t because they did not have a nondairy milk option.  I was pretty miffed about that.  I can maybe see charging a little extra for soy or almond or whatever, but to not even offer one???  Crazy.  So I fulfilled #22 at Starbucks.  And I learned something in the process.  I ordered a grande soy pumpkin spice latte with no whip cream, paid, waited, and then when the barrista handed me my drink, he asked…

Barrista:  Did you know the the pumpkin spice flavor we use has trace dairy in it?
Me:  Shit.  No.  I did not know that.
Barrista:  Are you allergic?
Me:  Nah, it’s an ethical choice for me.
Barista:  Yeah, me too.  Vegan for five years.

We went on to chat a few minutes about the vegan lifestyle and snags that trip up new herbies.  He was super cool.

The sneaky dairy in stuff like this is why I will never be 100% vegan! I would drive myself bonkers.

26.  Read a book.

A lady at work recommended and loaned me Hostile Witness by William Lashner.  It took me a while to get into it–about 100 pages or so.  Just when I was about to give up on feeling this one, something finally clicked and it turned out to be a pretty good read.

27.  Go to a restaurant I’ve never been to.

A new place opened up in Clarksville that looked like fun.  The Tilted Kilt.  We went this past Saturday night.  It was an awesome sports bar–kind of a cross between an Irish-themed Hooters and Buffalo Wild Wings.  The atmosphere was fun and the food was great.  (Yep, they even had an easily veganizable Spicy Black Bean wrap!)  I just wish we had waited until a later date to go.  They only opened on Monday, so their first weekend was kind of a clusterfuck.  When we first put our name on the list, we were told it would be 45 minutes, but that 45 minutes turned into an hour and a half wait, and then we got a green waitress.  Like GREEN green.  Like she told us to bear with her because it was her first night ever as a waitress green.  But overall it was fun!  It would have been even better if I hadn’t had to get up and run 19 miles the next morning and could have had a cold one or few, but there’s plenty of time for that when marathon training is over!

St. Jude Marathon Training: Week 14 – I’M BACK!!!

Planned                                           Actual

Monday:  Rest                                 Monday:  Rest
Tuesday:  5                                      Tuesday:  5 miles @ 10:54 + 10 minutes high-resistence spin
Wednesday:  5                                 Wednesday :  5 miles  @ 10:41
Thursday:  5                                     Thursday:  Rest
Friday:  Rest                                     Friday:  3.1 miles @ 10:55
Saturday:  19                                    Saturday:  2 miles @ 10:22 + core and upper body
Sunday:  Cross-train                        Sunday: 19 @ 11:23
Total:  34 miles                                 Total:  34.1 miles

Rather than resuming the regularly scheduled program, I decided to pick up where I left off pre-leg pain.  If I had picked up where I left off, that would have only put my long run at 12 miles this week, and since October 14th was my last LONG run of 18 miles (followed by 13.1 and then no long run the next two weeks), I just really felt like I needed a long run.  Mentally as much as physically.

I took all of my runs super easy this week, still trying to get my quad back to 100%.  I did a lot of my miles on the treadmill this week too for the sole purpose of avoiding hills.  Running downhills seemed to bother the ol’ leg more than anything else, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t aggravate anything.

Tuesday it still hurt pretty bad to run, but I had it in my head that I wanted to run to make it hurt so that hopefully the sports ortho could easily pinpoint the cause of the pain at my appointment the next day.  So I hopped on the treadmill and decided to run as long as I had to to make it hurt.  But to my surprise, the longer I ran the better it felt.  So I cancelled my ortho appointment and instead went to my chiropractor.

Wednesday I ran outside after the chiropractor worked his magic, and that’s when I discovered that downhill running still kind of hurt, so I took Thursday off and then took to the treadmill again for Friday’s run.  I cut that run short anyway because I was just exhausted, and made up the additional mileage on Saturday morning.  All of those runs were positively uneventful and not noteworthy in any way.

And, in all honesty, the same can be said for Sunday’s 19.  Which in my opinion is a GOOD thing!  Everybody likes uneventful long runs.  That means nothing went awry, right?!  I did get super bored though.  Good God, I’m glad I only have one more long run.  I’m running out of things to think about.  The only thing out of the ordinary that happened Sunday was that I could feel a hot spot on the ball of my left foot that I knew would be a blister if I let it go, so I stopped the “out” portion of my out-and-back so I could get back to the house and take care of it.  By the time I got back, a blister was just starting to form.  I changed socks and hopped back on the treadmill to finish out the last four miles.  As far as the pain goes, I was still pretty aware of the thigh for the first several miles, but somewhere around mile 10 it hit me–“Hey!  I don’t feel anything!”  It felt completely normal.  And now, as of about three hours after finishing the run, it feels good as new.  I’m still gonna follow-up with my chiropractor tomorrow for one more myofascial release session just for good measure, but at this point I am deeming myself REHABILITATED!

See?!  34.1 of the most boring miles ever!  But you know what?!  At least I ran 34.1 boring miles!  Much better than last week!  WOOHOO!