Air Force Marathon – An Update

I’m not really sure where to start with this update, so I guess I’ll just come right out and say it.

I’ve decided to NOT run the Air Force Marathon in September.

In some of my other weekly recap posts, I’ve alluded to some problems and having a hard time with life things and I decided that I’m just not in the right place to train for, and run a marathon.

Just before I started my training my step-dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Since then, it’s been an insane emotional roller coaster and two weeks ago we learned that he can no longer continue with his chemotherapy. I don’t have to tell you what this means.

As I was trying to run my 13 miles 2 weeks ago, it occurred to me how much time I was wasting while I was out there. The marathon will always be there, and the awful, terrible reality is that my step-dad won’t.  I couldn’t finish that run, and when I managed to run my 16 miles the following Monday I just kept thinking about how selfish I’m being with my time. All of my long runs from here on out are 18, 20, 22 miles and that is a lot of time. For me, that’s about 4 hours to be out there…plus getting back home, then showering, eating and then getting out to their house to visit. That’s more than half the day, and in a few months I know I’m going to want that time back.

For some people, training for a race might be the perfect distraction but I just can’t do that. When I’m out there, alone with my thoughts, that’s when I lose it. My heart and head just aren’t in right now.

I fully plan to continue running, but this takes so much of the pressure off – if I have to skip a run then I skip it. It won’t impact my training at all, and I won’t have to stress about needing to get the miles in.  I may throw a half marathon in there somewhere, but I’m not counting on it and it will certainly be a last minute decision if I do.

The Tall One and I talked about this on our way to Wisconsin and he fully agrees with/supports this decision. He could tell these last few weeks that I just wasn’t into it, and that I was struggling.

Once I made the decision I really felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my chest.  Obviously there is still another huge weight on there but at least this helps. I didn’t do any running on vacation and I didn’t worry about it at all. I’m not really sure where I’m going from here – maybe work on some speed and definitely some more strength work. I haven’t been doing that and can really tell the difference.

I know this is probably a very rambling, disconnected post but…that’s where I’m at.

Air Force Marathon Training – Week 7

Another week done! This was one of the few weeks that I haven’t gotten all of the miles in, that wasn’t due to my injury. I tried, but, sometimes these things happen. I’m not thrilled about it, but there are more important things going on than marathon training. I don’t like to get into super personal things, but our family is going through a pretty rough time and these last 6 weeks have been a major emotional roller coaster. And in the wise words of Forrest Gump that’s all I have to say about that.
Also, I don’t have a single picture to show for this week. All I’ve got is the before picture of my haircut; I don’t even have the after yet. Sorry ’bout that!! If you don’t keep reading, I don’t blame you…

Monday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: Rest. I woke up with every intention of running…and then I fell asleep on the couch. Oops. I figured it was no big deal, and I would just run when I got home from work. Then I didn’t get home until after 9 PM.

Tuesday

Planned: Rest

Actual: 3 Miles 32:30 (10:53 pace) I wanted to make up the 4 miles from the day before, but I farted around too much trying to work on blog posts and got started late.  At 3 miles I made the call to stop – I was dangerously close to being late for work and to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t see through the tears or breathe through the sobs. If I had the time though, I know that I would have been able to crank out another mile – I was feeling really good. Minus the whole sobbing hysterically while I ran thing.  Tuesday was a rough day, in general.

Wednesday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: 4 Miles hills 43:33 (1053 pace). I had a hair appointment right after work, so I made sure to get them in early. By Wednesday, my spirits had been lifted a bit and I was able to get out and work hard. No tears. No sobs. Just a good effort.

I really liked the color, but something was missing with the cut…

 

Thursday

Planned: Rest

Actual: Rest. This was another loooooong day, and I didn’t get home until way past 9:30. I also was kind of forced to make a few less than stellar food choices for dinner – a small chili from Wendy’s and a 6 piece chicken nugget box. I can’t even remember the last time I had Wendy’s, but pretty much it was that or starve. And a hungry Amanda is a very angry Amanda…so, chili it was. Calorie-wise, it wasn’t terrible; quality-wise was a different story. Which leads me to Friday’s run….

Friday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: 3.5 Miles 39:57 (11:24 pace). Since Tuesday and Wednesday were harder efforts, and Saturday was a long run day I decided to take Friday nice and easy. I would have been fine to finish that last half mile, but….let’s just say I was regretting last night’s dinner choice. I kind of had to rush home, and by the time I did that it would have been pointless to go back out for the last half mile. Aside from that close call, it was a good, easy effort.

Saturday

Planned: 15 Miles

Actual: 15 Miles 2:49:21 (11:17 pace). I started this run about an hour later than I would normally like to – I ended up going back to the hair salon to make a few small adjustments to my cut and the soonest they could get me in was 8AM Saturday. Since it was driving me nuts, and I felt bad about coming back, I happily took that time slot. I looked at it as a way to sleep in instead of waking up at the butt-crack of dawn like usual.

When I woke up, I could hear it pouring. I did my usual morning routine, and the whole time debated if I should just plan to run on Sunday instead. I checked the radar and the rain was supposed to continue all morning long so I figured what the hell. I actually really enjoy running in the rain, and since there’s always a chance it could be raining on race day I decided it would be a good idea.

I was in and out of the hair salon in 10 minutes, and now I love my hair! Wahoo!! I drove out to North Park and got started. As usual, my first few miles were too fast…for whatever reason, I just can’t seem to get my long runs under control. I really need to work on that…not clue how, but I’ll think of something 🙂  The first loop through was pretty uneventful…there were very few people out and I was enjoying the solitude. And I figured, if I started crying again at least no one would be able to tell.  By the fourth or fifth mile I had finally settled into a manageable pace in the mid-low 11:00 minute/mile pace. I learned my lesson last week and decided to take my water bottle and gels with me, rather than trying to stop at the car after each loop. Around 4.5 I took my first gel and kept trucking along. The second loop was really uneventful…I was in the zone. Anytime I sensed myself slipping, I would take a minute to check my form, focus on my breathing and give myself a little pep talk. It was working! I felt like I could keep going all day. I took my next gel at 9.5 and was still feeling great.  Just after mile 10, I even though to myself “maybe I’ll make the last 1 or 2 miles a fast finish…just to see if I can”. Bahahahahahahahahahaha!!! Hilarious. Just as I should have started to speed up (or at least try to), I hit a massive wall. It must have been made of reinforced steel because it knocked me on my ass. The next two miles were a total mental battle to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I tried doing the form check trick, positive reinforcement…you name it, I tried it. Looking at my splits now, I see that I must have been able to do that for the last mile but holy crap on a cracker was that tough!! Aside from those last two miles, this was a great long run and I am really happy! Honestly, I would rather get some of these bad miles out of my system now rather than on race day. I’m not sure how to avoid hitting that type of wall again….it may be time to switch from English Muffins with peanut butter to something a little more substantial like a bagel as my pre-run breakfast.

Sunday

Planned: Rest

Actual: Rest. I hate to say this, but my Achilles Tendonitis has flared up again…and I still haven’t scheduled my Physical Therapy. It’s not that I’m not taking it seriously, I just really haven’t been able to – things are constantly changing and I hate to commit to these appointments if I have to keep cancelling them. The Tall One has been asking me everyday if I’ve scheduled them yet, and won’t stop until I do. He’s an alright guy 🙂  (No, really, he is. I don’t know how I would be coping with everything if it wasn’t for him!!)

How’s your training going? What do you do when you hit the wall – I will take any and all advice on overcoming that!!

 

Air Force Marathon Training – Week 6

Oy! Where does the time go?? I have so many posts to write/share, but I haven’t even gotten close to finishing them so I might as well get my weekly recap up so there’s something on here!!

This was another good week of training – I worked hard, mixed things up with some speed early in the week and braved the heat for 13.37 miles on Saturday!! Full details below

Monday

Planned: Rest

Actual: Rest. I had to shift my long run the week before to Sunday so I made Monday a rest day rather than the usual short/slow day. I also had my doctor’s appointment (need to do a post about this, but in general it’s all good news!! 🙂   ), so I went for a short walk when I got home and that was it! After, I ventured out to get some new running/vacation clothes and got some great stuff! Yay for Target!!

Tuesday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: 4 Progression Miles 42:54 (10:43 pace). I didn’t specifically plan for this to be a speed workout, but I was feeling good and decided to go for it! I also hit the weights when I got home from work, for a quick workout!

Lookie there! It's amazing what you're capable of when you just go for it!

Lookie there! It’s amazing what you’re capable of when you just go for it!

Wednesday

Planned: Strength

Actual: Strength! I’m getting better at making the time for this – it helps that I’ve revised what I’m doing and am sticking with a plan that’s a little more manageable!

Thursday

 Planned: 5 Miles + Strength:

Actual: 5 PM (!!!!!!!) Miles 58:17 (11:39 pace).  5 pain free PM miles!! WAHOO!  After my Drs appt. on Monday, I put some changes into place right away and decided to see if they had any influence on Thursday.  Since it was only a few days later, I didn’t put too much hope in being able to do all 5 miles, but I had to give it a shot. There was some mild discomfort when I started but that quickly went away. I didn’t worry about speed at all – besides being hot and sunny (about 86 degrees), I was just happy to be out there and running pain free. Pace was the last thing on my mind (but it was still in line with my normal times). Yay!   I also did my strength workout that morning – I’m on fi-YAH!!

Friday

Planned: 3 Miles

Actual: 3 Miles 32:34 (10:51 pace) Good, solid early morning run! I was rewarded with this gorgeous sunrise at the end!

 

Waking up early has its benefits!

Waking up early has its benefits!

Saturday

Planned: 13 Miles

Actual: 13.37 Miles 2:31:25 (11:20 pace) at North Park. In a word? HOT. In more words? I’m kind of dumb…more on that as the stories continues.

This was kind of a weird run…I felt like I was going a lot slower than I was, so when I saw my average at the end, I was pleasantly surprised that I managed to hold a normal (to me) pace. However, I also started out waaaaaaaay too fast. I tried to slow myself down, but couldn’t seem to do it. No worries though – the heat helped with that later on.  I also need to learn how to judge the temperatures – last week it was so cool out, I ended up dropping my water off at the car because it was making my hand cold.  So this week, I decided to leave the water/gel in the car and just stop when I passed by and use the water fountains along the loop. When I made my first of two passes around my car, I decided I was still OK and didn’t need anything yet. I didn’t really want to break the rhythm I was in, so I kept going. I started to slow a little, and knew a water fountain was coming up and hoped that would give me a little pep in my step.

A tad fast for a long run

A tad fast for a long run

I got to the fountain….and there was a little runners reunion, or something, going on and even though I said ‘excuse me’, no one would move so I kept going.  A mile or so later, I was reeeeeally regretting not stopping at my car but luckily I got to the next fountain, and there was no line! Wahoo!  The sun was out in full force at this point, even though it was only 9 AM, and it was warm; the combination of these factors was making me cranky.  There was also a very large 5K event going on at the boathouse, and trying to weave through all of the tents, and jazzercisers and cars was starting to grate on my nerves ( I’m just a bit of a drama queen). So I finally made it to my car for the second time, and was never so happy to drink warm water in my life. And then…even though it was pushing 80 at this point, even though I was thinking about how thirsty I was….I left my water in the car. I didn’t want to carry that and my phone (I still haven’t purchased a case for my new phone yet….derp), so I figured that I’d still rely on the water fountains.

Slowing down...

Slowing down…

I trucked along, and got to the first water fountain….the reunion was over at this point, and I nearly skipped over to the fountain. Only to discover the water pressure was so low the water barely trickled out. I don’t care how hot it is/thirsty I am, no way am I putting my mouth that close to a public water fountain. This really increased the cranky factor, but still no worries, I can make it to the next one. I trudged on. Then,I crested another hill….and apparently the 5K had finally started, because all I could see was a sea of neon.  No. Just no. I just didn’t have it in me to try to weave through that (going against the flow of people), so I said eff it. Actually, I dropped the f-bomb (and a bunch of other words) for this one. Out loud. And people heard me. I apologized for cursing like a sailor and they laughed and said they didn’t blame me. I looked at my watch, and realized that if I turned around here, I would definitely make 13 miles by the time I got to my car and wouldn’t have to go anywhere near the festival. Amen to that. I got about.10 of a mile in, and realized that although I didn’t have to weave through people, this updated route meant no more water fountains.  Lots more f-bombs were dropped, but I kept them (mostly) silent or at least under my breath. I thought about walking, but that just meant it would be longer until I got my water. These last 2 miles were pretty much a death march, but the promise of toasty warm water kept me going. Then. THEN. I remembered there is a 7-11 just across the intersection from where I park. I started dreaming of a slurpee ( I missed the free slurpees the day before, and they’d been on my mind). The hope of a lemonade slurpee was what got me back to my car. <—- Yeah, just a little dramatic.

OMG end it now. Give me an effing slurpee.

OMG end it now. Give me an effing slurpee.

By the time I finally got back to my car, it was well over 13 miles.  I did take notice at the 13.1 mark that it was still faster (2:28) than my slowest half marathon time (2:31) so maybe the day wasn’t as bad as it felt. I got in my car and headed right for 7-11, sailed through a yellow light (oops) and made a bee-line for the slurpee machine.

Pure sugar never tasted so good.

 

YUM

YUM

When I got home, that sweet husband of mine also had a Gatorade chilling in the fridge, along with a glass of ice water. He’s alright, that guy 🙂

Sunday

Planned: Rest

Actual: REST. Much needed rest.

All in all, this was a really good week for me. I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel for my tendonitis, and even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I’m managing to keep a decent pace in this heat/humidity. That is definitely a good thing!!

Air Force Marathon Training – Week 5

Whew! Another week down, and I am seriously behind in posting my update! Somehow I always feel even more behind that usual after a long weekend!

This was a fairly decent week for training – once again, I ran into some trouble trying out an evening run but now that I’ve been able to see a doctor I’m hoping those runs will soon be behind me! Post coming soon about that!! Other than that hiccup, training went pretty well, and I ran my first 5K in almost 4 years!

Monday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: Strength Training. I honestly cannot remember why I didn’t run – there are no extra notes in my planner so I’m guessing it was either weather related or I was just lazy. Not sure, but at least I got my strength in!

Tuesday

Planned: Strength + Cross

Actual: 4 Miles 43:41 (10:54 pace). This ended up being an unintentional almost progression run  – I knew the 5K was coming up and I figured one last run at some sort of “race pace” would be beneficial, so I pushed hard.  My 3rd mile crept up a little higher than it should have. I made up for it with the next mile, though. I was happy with how this run felt…it was hard, but not impossible. I love getting a good sweat on before work!

Not too shabby!

Not too shabby!

I also hit the weights when I got home, while I watched the remainder of the USA/Belgium soccer match.  So sad we lost 😦

Wednesday

Planned: 5 Miles

Actual: 4.28 Miles 53:25 (12:25 pace) Oof, this was tough. Read about it here. The good news is that I saw a doctor this week and am hopefully on my way to alleviating this problem! Yee-haw!

Thursday

Planned: Strength

Actual: Resting up before the big day!

Friday

Planned: 5K Race

Actual: Jane Neely Run for Your Life 5K. Read about it here! In case you don’t want to read about it – 3.1 Miles 31:21 (9:55 pace) and a new PR!

Saturday

Planned: 10 Miles

Actual: Rest. My brothers came in from out of town so we could spend some quality family time together while we all can. They were planning on arriving early, and spending precious time together was more important than 10 miles. It can wait.

Sunday

Planned: Rest

Actual: 10 Miles 1:55:43 (11:34 pace). All things considered, I’m pretty happy with this one.  I went out to North Park for the first time this year, and I was reminded how much I love it! The first 5 miles were tough – my ankles were hurting (what the crap?! that’s only supposed to happen later in the day), and I thought about quitting. But, I hate quitting. I knew that my doctor’s appointment was the next day, and I thought about the possibility that I may be put on a running hiatus. How pissed would I be if my last run for 2+ weeks (possibly) was one that I didn’t even finish?? Very, just in case you were wondering.  So, I made a pit stop at my car and dropped off the water bottle that I had been carrying (it was irritating me, and wasn’t really warm enough to need it) and sucked down a salted caramel Gu <—– YUM! I also saw Kim from This Runner’s Fuel, but was too chicken to say hi :-(! I decided to suck it up, and I tried to push a little harder for the last 5 miles. It felt like I was running faster, but according to my splits I really didn’t…mile 9 was killer!

It felt like I was going faster...

It felt like I was going faster…

Overall  this was a good long run. I didn’t quit, didn’t give up, and tried as hard as I could to keep an even pace (still working on that part).

In general, I think this was another solid week of training.  From here on out, all of my long runs are in the double digits and while I know they will be tough if the heat/humidity keeps up I am really looking forward to them! 🙂

How’s your training going?

 

 

Air Force Marathon Training…So Far

I can’t believe I have already completed 4 weeks of marathon training! There have been some ups and downs, but overall things have been pretty good! The miles are low-volume (no more than 25 per week), but by adding one day of speed I still feel that they have been quality runs.

Since I’m breaking down my 16 week plan into four 4-week cycles, I thought it might be fun to evaluate these last 4 weeks – kind of grade myself and see where I can improve (everywhere!!), and what I did well. 

Running : A. Even if I couldn’t run on the planned day, I still managed to fit in all but 4 of the planned miles. I may have been kind of stupid about it *cough* running 5 days in a row *cough*, but they all got done. I was also really diligent about hitting the hills and even tried to work in some fartlek’s and a tempo.  The schedule is only going to get harder, and it may be difficult to get the runs in but I think these 4 weeks have set a good precedence.

Strength: D- . If my sticking to my running plan was a good example of my training, then strength training was the worst example I could have set. I only managed 1-2 times per week (2 is being generous), and that makes me mad. I know how important it is, and how much I’ll have to rely on my physical strength in the last miles of the race but I just don’t do it. I’ve been saying that life has been getting in the way, and things are just really stressful and crazy, blah, blah, blah; but, the reality is – if it’s important to me (which it is) I will make it a priority.  It’s not even that I don’t want to do it – I do; but I’m not making it a priority. I’m letting everything else come before this. If I can make running a top priority, I can make strength training a priority too.

Nutrition: B. I haven’t been tracking my DQS score like I planned, but I am making a conscious effort to make sure that my meals and snacks are real foods – lotsa veggies and fruits and good, lean, protein. I’ve been trying to keep my cheat meals to once per week and eating out to a minimum with decent results; we’re still going out to eat more often than I’d like, but I’m at least making smart choices when I’m out.  I’ve done a decent job avoiding the “candy drawer” at work, and monitoring my junk food at home, and all of that is paying off because I’ve almost shed my “injury pounds” (the 6-ish pounds I gained when my legs were being jagoffs)! I also mentioned in last weeks recap that now the heat and humidity is rising it’s time to start carrying some hydration and fuel with me, at least on my long runs.

Injury Prevention: C.   I’m doing…ok here.  I’ve made sure to ice after every long run, but icing during my mid-week runs has not been the best.  I try to get it done, but in the morning after a run,  I’m already rushed and 20 minutes is kind of a lot to set aside. BUT, just like the strength training it’s something that needs done; so I’ll make the time to do it.  There are also ways to give myself more time in the morning – I can pack most, if not all, of my lunch the night before, eat a make ahead breakfast or eat at my desk when I get to work, etc.  I have been doing a really good job stretching! I’m also really happy that last week, I made the smart choice to skip a run to give my legs a chance to rest. It doesn’t sound like much, but I normally have a “must run all of the planned miles OR ELSE” mentality that can be hard to break. 

I’d say that so far I’m doing well…obviously there is a lot of room for improvement, so for the next 4 weeks I’m going to:

Maintain my running “grade”. Stay away from junk miles, make every run count and if something hurts…back off. Missing a day here and there is always better than missing weeks or months.

Maintain or improve my nutrition grade:  As the miles increase, so does the temptation to eat the junk, or sweets because “I just ran 16 miles – I can have Chinese takeout, Dairy Queen,  AND a Twix Bar”. Not so much. I think having treats here and there, and designating a cheat meal during the week will keep those temptations to a minimum.

Improve my strength training. This is a no brainer. I need to make it happen.  I’m thinking that the answer here may be as simple as doing it in the morning before work, so I don’t have a b.s. excuse when I get home from work. 

 Am I missing anything? Are there any glaring holes that I’m overlooking?