Tough and tougher.

Last year at this time, I was coming up on 15-16 mile runs and was just plain scared. Scared about the training distances,scared about the running schedule during heavy work travel,  scared about cramps, tendonitis, fatigue, and just basically scared that I wouldn’t be able to finish the actual marathon.  This year, with one marathon in the bank, Janet and I both know we can get to the finish line. This year, it’s more about “finesse.”  Or, maybe not finesse, actually. Maybe more like an “organized” finish. And, by that, I mean my body being more organized in receiving motion signals from my brain, getting my feet in front of each other without flailing around and shuffling through the finish. We’re aiming for “strong” finishes. I’m not sure we’ve defined exactly what that means – we’re allowing the training to help sort that out.  “Strong” might mean faster, or less dilly dallying at the water stops, or a pacing plan by intervals, or whatever. I’m not sure yet.

But, this week was a real test for us both. Janet in is the midst of the THE busiest two weeks of her year – long work days, every day, managing a million things at once. That she can even think about scheduling a long run with me is a testament to her strength. I did a round trip – late night drive – from ME to PA and back to pick up Ellie from the Poconos, to get her back in time to have 48 hrs to say hi, do laundry, repack, and leave to drive back to PA for her 3rd year of college. Plus, I had work when I wasn’t driving to and from PA.  And I was fighting a cold at the end of the week. I was feeling a bit pressed, to say the least.  I had to toughen up to get it all done.

As a side note, knowing that I had a challenging week and heavy workload in Maine, I did manage to crank out a run in PA. My hotel was in the middle of a very busy area, no safe opportunity to run on a road and the treadmills were all being used. So, I went outside and took advantage of the hotel being part of a huge office park and I just looped up/down/around all the parking lots until I got some miles done.  I had some time in between my run and when Ellie was free to get picked up, so I hit the diner across the street – this place:

500 499

Just the right breakfast for a full week and long drive ahead.

Back home, I had packed work days and then had to swing by the hardware store to buy a maul.  I had been borrowing Janet’s but I had to return it and I still needed one at my place. (Who knew so many outdoor projects would require a maul? But many do.)

I asked the sales guy at the True Value to show me where the mauls were located. This is how the conversation went:

Him:  “You want a maul?”

Me:  “Yes”

Him: “Not an axe?”

Me:  “An axe would be OK, but I really need a maul.”

We go to where they are located… and he looks at me…

Him: “Are you the one swinging it?”

Me:  “Yes.”

Him:  “Well, we have several sizes…” as he rests his hand on the small one.

I pulled out the one I wanted.  What I really wanted to say as a follow up was this:

ME:  “Dude.  I obliterated the pounding block  pounding a 4 ft mailbox stake into the ground with a MAUL like THIS.  This is the damage I can do when I swing a MAUL this THIS SIZE. Dude.”

(Evidence of my toughness below:)

464

Today, Janet and I planned to run long.  I hadn’t been sleeping well and I don’t think Janet has been sleeping at all…  Still trying to get rid of the cold, I had to load up with cold medicine before heading out.  We stayed together for about 6 miles and then broke up to follow different routes/distances.  Each of us in our heads. Each of us trying to catch up in training. Each of us trying to shake off a crazy week and figure out how to manage the day ahead, whatever planned and unplanned challenges might arise.  At mile 13, I was hoping someone would drive by and offer me a ride.  (No luck.)   By mile 14, I was determined to get to mile 16.  It was tough, but I finished.  (Actually, I finished at 15.9, but I’m giving myself the .1 in mileage on account of the cold medicine. 🙂  )

I plopped in the ice bath, got out, and got on with my day.

What I have learned in marathon prep, but also as it applies to life, is that however tough I think I need to be, I might need to be tougher than that. And I can be that tough.

Onward.

 

 

Vacation running.

I had the week off from work and while I would have loved to just get away somewhere, I had a bunch of obligations at home, so I could only get away for just one night. But, one night in Bar Harbor, ME, was a great getaway.  This was the view from downtown, near where I was staying:

IMG_2750

The problem with vacation is that it suggests *relaxing*… and when I started to do that, it was hard to imagine running. I realized I was just so tired! I napped, ate, napped, ate, and finished up my time there with this delicious view at lunchtime before I had to head back home. Pretty nice.  Relaxation? CHECK.  Mileage? NO check. Oh well. I got back to it when I got home.

IMG_2751

So, curiously, Janet’s aggressive training plan (that she downloaded from Runners World) only listed 3 runs for the week – each of them 6 miles. Nothing long.  Sounded pretty good to me! But, next weekend calls for a 16 miler and I just can’t imagine going from 13 last Sunday to only 18 for this whole week, with such a long run only a week away.

I think Janet couldn’t believe it, either, because she ran 13 miles yesterday and then ran a 5k today (today was the Couch to 5k finale for the group she’s been coaching!)

I am eating my words because it was not long ago when Janet thought the training plan didn’t have enough mileage during one of the weeks and I told her that I thought Runners World probably knew what there were doing with marathon prep plans and we should trust their custom plan. But, as I said, I thought the mileage seemed light this week, even accounting for recovery time in between long runs.  And since Janet already banked the 13 miler yesterday, I felt the pressure to keep up. (I am so weak under her spell…)

So, today, I managed 11.5 – just enough to feel pushed but stopping just short of anything hurting too much.   I tried some new routes today, including this scene by a golf course:

IMG_2764

And then I ventured into the legendary “trails” near my house.  Everybody who knows Brunswick and knows where my house is, says “you’ve got to try the trails!”  Well, those trails, as far as I have been able to tell are a myth.  Everyone talks about them and everyone talks about a different entry point, and each entry point sounds so obvious. But, do you think I can find them? NO.  It’s like Narnia.  There’s a magic “wardrobe” out there that leads to the trails and only the believers can see it. So, being crafty and practical, I decided to try and enter the trail system from the opposite side.  With 7 miles behind me, I entered the Town Commons via a parking lot.  The most direct route on the map should have gotten me home in about 2 miles:

commons map

Pretty creepy in there. The trails themselves are beautiful, but most are unmarked and they just loop around. Since I don’t have any sense of direction, I had a chance to “inspect’ many of the trails,  and therefore pulled off several extra miles.  And, by the way, I did exit the trail into a neighborhood, but not *my* neighborhood – some other neighborhood that was an absolute maze of its own.

I think I’m going to stick to roads with signs for the rest of my runs and God bless the “believers” who love the trail system.

Onward!

 

Marathon Training meets ALS Ice Bucket (BATH) challenge – TAKE TWO

Evidently, the first blog post didn’t actually show the ice bath challenge except on the FB publish… so I’m adding it again and reposting the entire blog…

 

Pretty nutty week for Janet, Margaret and me…  Margaret moved, and then entered a triathalon and came in 2nd for her group. Last week, I called her a “machine.”  Obviously, that is still the case.  Janet had a busy week at work and then had a long weekend out of town, several states away, for some serious family business.  I had very full days in the office myself because I’m trying to be on vacation this week, which means a lot of work got crammed into last week. According to Janet’s training plan, we were supposed to run 6 miles in the middle of the week at a blistering speed, with a shorter run squashed in there somewhere. I did manage to get the 6 miles in, with a couple other shorter runs in around that. I didn’t make the goal speed, but all my mileage was faster than my normal, so I think I’m still OK.

The training plan called for 14 miles today.  Margaret – definitely exempt – she moved and did a triathalon.  Janet – also exempt – left town and I think managed to get some runs in even though there probably really wasn’t any time for that given the circumstances.  I didn’t have any excuses, so I got up this morning and set out for the 14 miles.  It was nice, actually.  I ran down to the end of Mere Point – a solid 6 miles from my driveway to the end of the point. A quick jog around the boat launch and then back to home. That would only get me 12, but I knew I could turn around and run back a mile and then turn for home again to catch the 14.  I left in the sun, ran into the rain, ran into the sun, ran into the rain, sun, rain, and so forth. (Of course, when I got home, it was sunny for the rest of the day. ) At mile 11, my left knee started acting up. Not the “I’m tired, please stop moving me” kind of ruckus, but the IT band pain that first sent me into physical therapy 1.5 yrs ago.  So, I shuffled to mile 13 and let the 14th mile be a walking one. Even with all that, I managed race pace today, so I was happy.

When I got home, I had to deal with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Zak Harris, a colleague in my office, nominated me as he was pouring ice water over his head in a FB video. Since he called me out on Facebook, the whole world knows he nominated me.  A bold move to challenge your boss to dump ice water over her head, I must say. Bold move.  So I met his challenge and raised it – to an ice bath challenge.  You can see craziness here:

Pretty nutty week for Janet, Margaret and me…  Margaret moved, and then entered a triathalon and came in 2nd for her group. Last week, I called her a “machine.”  Obviously, that is still the case.  Janet had a busy week at work and then had a long weekend out of town, several states away, for some serious family business.  I had very full days in the office myself because I’m trying to be on vacation this week, which means a lot of work got crammed into last week. According to Janet’s training plan, we were supposed to run 6 miles in the middle of the week at a blistering speed, with a shorter run squashed in there somewhere. I did manage to get the 6 miles in, with a couple other shorter runs in around that. I didn’t make the goal speed, but all my mileage was faster than my normal, so I think I’m still OK.

The training plan called for 14 miles today.  Margaret – definitely exempt – she moved and did a triathalon.  Janet – also exempt – left town and I think managed to get some runs in even though there probably really wasn’t any time for that given the circumstances.  I didn’t have any excuses, so I got up this morning and set out for the 14 miles.  It was nice, actually.  I ran down to the end of Mere Point – a solid 6 miles from my driveway to the end of the point. A quick jog around the boat launch and then back to home. That would only get me 12, but I knew I could turn around and run back a mile and then turn for home again to catch the 14.  I left in the sun, ran into the rain, ran into the sun, ran into the rain, sun, rain, and so forth. (Of course, when I got home, it was sunny for the rest of the day. ) At mile 11, my left knee started acting up. Not the “I’m tired, please stop moving me” kind of ruckus, but the IT band pain that first sent me into physical therapy 1.5 yrs ago.  So, I shuffled to mile 13 and let the 14th mile be a walking one. Even with all that, I managed race pace today, so I was happy.

When I got home, I had to deal with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Zak Harris, a colleague in my office, nominated me as he was pouring ice water over his head in a FB video. Since he called me out on Facebook, the whole world knows he nominated me.  A bold move to challenge your boss to dump ice water over her head, I must say. Bold move.  So I met his challenge and raised it – to an ice bath challenge.  You can see craziness here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpSXRNLlf04

 

Now, if you’re not on Facebook and have you haven’t been watching the news, then you may not know about the ice bucket challenge.  You can find out about it here, http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html, but it’s essentially a viral “awareness” and fundraising phenomenon that has hit social media. And I got wrapped into it thanks to Zak.  I have no problem supporting awareness or fundraising for ALS, so I was happy to take the challenge.

Ok, back to the marathon training blog….

Last week, I was still the only one of the three of us who had actually committed to Philly by registering for the marathon. Well, right in the midst of her move, Margaret signed up and sent me an email copy of her registration to prove that she was in. (Thank you!)  And then, Janet upped us both somehow catching a number, along with her husband, as part of the Nathan Hydration Team. Yes, that means she’s running with a team. (Nathan is one of the most popular companies making sports hydration gear – Janet and I both carry hand-held strap-on water bottles from Nathan (http://www.nathansports.com/hydration) Naturally, I immediately asked, “Good God, does this mean we have to train to be faster?”  She said she’s NOT SURE.  Holy Moly.

Anyway, Margaret, Janet, Michael (Janet’s husband) and I are all bound for Philly on November 23.

Since Janet couldn’t get to the 14 this weekend, I’m thinking she’s going to want to go for it next weekend. If my knee has stopped complaining, I’ll go with her…

 

Onward!

 

 

 

Now, if you’re not on Facebook and have you haven’t been watching the news, then you may not know about the ice bucket challenge.  You can find out about it here, http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html, but it’s essentially a viral “awareness” and fundraising phenomenon that has hit social media. And I got wrapped into it thanks to Zak.  I have no problem supporting awareness or fundraising for ALS, so I was happy to take the challenge.

Ok, back to the marathon training blog….

Last week, I was still the only one of the three of us who had actually committed to Philly by registering for the marathon. Well, right in the midst of her move, Margaret signed up and sent me an email copy of her registration to prove that she was in. (Thank you!)  And then, Janet upped us both somehow catching a number, along with her husband, as part of the Nathan Hydration Team. Yes, that means she’s running with a team. (Nathan is one of the most popular companies making sports hydration gear – Janet and I both carry hand-held strap-on water bottles from Nathan (http://www.nathansports.com/hydration) Naturally, I immediately asked, “Good God, does this mean we have to train to be faster?”  She said she’s NOT SURE.  Holy Moly.

Anyway, Margaret, Janet, Michael (Janet’s husband) and I are all bound for Philly on November 23.

Since Janet couldn’t get to the 14 this weekend, I’m thinking she’s going to want to go for it next weekend. If my knee has stopped complaining, I’ll go with her…

 

Onward!

 

 

Marathon training meets ALS ice bucket (BATH) challenge…

Pretty nutty week for Janet, Margaret and me…  Margaret moved, and then entered a triathalon and came in 2nd for her group. Last week, I called her a “machine.”  Obviously, that is still the case.  Janet had a busy week at work and then had a long weekend out of town, several states away, for some serious family business.  I had very full days in the office myself because I’m trying to be on vacation this week, which means a lot of work got crammed into last week. According to Janet’s training plan, we were supposed to run 6 miles in the middle of the week at a blistering speed, with a shorter run squashed in there somewhere. I did manage to get the 6 miles in, with a couple other shorter runs in around that. I didn’t make the goal speed, but all my mileage was faster than my normal, so I think I’m still OK.

The training plan called for 14 miles today.  Margaret – definitely exempt – she moved and did a triathalon.  Janet – also exempt – left town and I think managed to get some runs in even though there probably really wasn’t any time for that given the circumstances.  I didn’t have any excuses, so I got up this morning and set out for the 14 miles.  It was nice, actually.  I ran down to the end of Mere Point – a solid 6 miles from my driveway to the end of the point. A quick jog around the boat launch and then back to home. That would only get me 12, but I knew I could turn around and run back a mile and then turn for home again to catch the 14.  I left in the sun, ran into the rain, ran into the sun, ran into the rain, sun, rain, and so forth. (Of course, when I got home, it was sunny for the rest of the day. ) At mile 11, my left knee started acting up. Not the “I’m tired, please stop moving me” kind of ruckus, but the IT band pain that first sent me into physical therapy 1.5 yrs ago.  So, I shuffled to mile 13 and let the 14th mile be a walking one. Even with all that, I managed race pace today, so I was happy.

When I got home, I had to deal with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Zak Harris, a colleague in my office, nominated me as he was pouring ice water over his head in a FB video. Since he called me out on Facebook, the whole world knows he nominated me.  A bold move to challenge your boss to dump ice water over her head, I must say. Bold move.  So I met his challenge and raised it – to an ice bath challenge.  You can see craziness here:

 

Now, if you’re not on Facebook and have you haven’t been watching the news, then you may not know about the ice bucket challenge.  You can find out about it here, http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html, but it’s essentially a viral “awareness” and fundraising phenomenon that has hit social media. And I got wrapped into it thanks to Zak.  I have no problem supporting awareness or fundraising for ALS, so I was happy to take the challenge.

Ok, back to the marathon training blog….

Last week, I was still the only one of the three of us who had actually committed to Philly by registering for the marathon. Well, right in the midst of her move, Margaret signed up and sent me an email copy of her registration to prove that she was in. (Thank you!)  And then, Janet upped us both somehow catching a number, along with her husband, as part of the Nathan Hydration Team. Yes, that means she’s running with a team. (Nathan is one of the most popular companies making sports hydration gear – Janet and I both carry hand-held strap-on water bottles from Nathan (http://www.nathansports.com/hydration) Naturally, I immediately asked, “Good God, does this mean we have to train to be faster?”  She said she’s NOT SURE.  Holy Moly.

Anyway, Margaret, Janet, Michael (Janet’s husband) and I are all bound for Philly on November 23.

Since Janet couldn’t get to the 14 this weekend, I’m thinking she’s going to want to go for it next weekend. If my knee has stopped complaining, I’ll go with her…

 

Onward!

 

 

Philadelphia Marathon – on the schedule – at least on mine

Today was Margaret’s last day of vacation in Maine and she chose to run 12 miles with Janet and me this morning before she packed the car to drive back to PA. If you couldn’t already tell, from all the previous blogs, Margaret is a machine. I don’t know anyone else who could run 12 miles, then pack up a family, and then drive all day. But Margaret can (and did.)

Today was tough on the three of us, though. We met in Portland and did almost the same route as last week  – including a full trip around Macworth Island and a detour through Payson Park on the return, trying to stretch the distance to 12 miles.

Margaret was running with wings on her feet – she was super fast and led way in front- her head just a dot for me to follow ahead in the distance. Janet was full of determination and stayed with Margaret for a long time before switching to a different pacing strategy.  I was the caboose. And, even though I felt good on this route last weekend, bopping along at a good pace, I was just NOT feeling it today. I sort of had heartburn for the first 8.5 miles and generally felt in a bad mood.

As we looped back to the starting point, it was obvious that the route was only going to be 11 miles, not the 12 we had planned. Now, the three of us are all the “get it done” type – no backing off the plan for us. But, today, none of us felt like finding that last mile. Nope.  At 11, we quit and sprawled out on the grass by the cove, complaining with relief that the run was done!

Margaret was heading back to PA to manage a move. She’s essentially been in housing limbo all summer. Her family is waiting to move into a new house next week, but had to move out of the former house in June, so the last couple of months have been a bit nutty. She was just anxious to get back to PA to get that move going and get herself and her family settled into the new house before school starts, so I think that’s how she ran so fast.

Since my move is over, I’m just tired. 🙂  And I didn’t feel like running fast at all.

Also, I lost the hard drive on my computer last week. Since I lost absolutely everything on the computer, that means I also lost my running log and my training plan. This means I’m following Janet’s crazy customized training plan she got from Runners World.

The most important point of this week’s blog is that we ran 11 miles together as if we’re all training for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23, but…. I’m still the ONLY one who has signed up!  Ok, Margaret’s moving and Janet is busy, but COME ON. If I’m on my own on race day because they didn’t sign up in time, I’m going to be really sad (and slow.)

I didn’t have my phone with me, so I don’t have any photos of today’s 11 miler. But, I’m including a photo of my dog, Stella, because she looks like I feel on long run days like today:

IMG_2638

 

Onward!

Philadelphia Marathon #2 – T minus 14 weeks

Janet applied the pressure with this email message to Margaret and me last week:

All right women,  enough of this fumbling and fussing and thinking about incidental things …[and]… other such nonsense…

I logged into smartcoach on runner’s world this afternoon and found a schedule to prepare me for the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov 23.

Fine. She threw out a training plan, but I was the first one to sign up for a the marathon. Yes, I did.  Here is my confirmation (it’s itty bitty, but  you can see my name on the right under “participant”, aka “crazy person who spent money to run 26.2 miles“):

Philly confirmation

 

So, I’m the one signed up, but Janet has the training schedule, so she planned a 10 mile run this morning. Fortunately for us, Margaret is in Maine for vacation, so she joined us. We had a nice view of Back Cove in Portland for the beginning and end of our 1o miler. The highlight is really Macworth Island which is beautiful trails with water all around – the middle part of our run – but I didn’t have my phone with me during the run, so I couldn’t take a photo.

I did however, score this photo just before we took off:

 

IMG_2732

As usual, we started together, and then Janet and Margaret moved ahead and I trailed behind.  We got to Macworth, took a water break, and then looped around to return home.  Miles 6 and 7 were tough. Janet ran the Beach to Beacon 10k yesterday, plus some mileage in the days before that, and she was tired before we even started this morning. And Margaret spent most of yesterday in the car, driving from PA to ME, so she had to shake it out a bit during  the run. I’ve been busy at work during the day, and spackling, sanding, taping, painting in the evenings, so I’m beat.  In the latter half of the run, we spread out.  The good news is that we all met or exceeded the pace assigned by Janet’s training plan that she downloaded from Runners World magazine, so we were feeling a pretty victorious.

And, we were happy to be a three-some, so we just hung out and rested by the water after we were finished before we had to go our separate ways:

 

IMG_2734

 

And, as I said, I’m the only one actually signed up for this marathon, so the other two need to sign up ASAP. (Janet and Margaret – that means YOU TWO!)

This marathon has all the same challenges as last year. Still 26.2 miles to cover. Still training during a nutty travel season in which I’ll have to do a lot of mileage on my own in unfamiliar locations. Still aiming to finish it with my two buds, Janet and Margaret (if they get signed up! HINT)

Onward!