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Week 15: Marathon Training

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yes, it's me again. You're probably getting tired of this. I know there are times when I am.

Last week was one of my better weeks. Tuesday's running group put in 4 miles; that's a bit more than usual. It was an easy run, all women, and the thunderstorm went by us without causing any trouble. There were huge ominous black clouds hanging above us when we started out.

Thursday's run was 6.2 miles--up a mountain. This was a training run for the Mountainback Ultra Marathon--50 miles. I'm on a team and only running 5.something. emoticon It wasn't near as steep as the Made in the Shade race earlier this summer, so I have no complaints. It took me about 75 minutes to reach the top.

And then came Sunday, a day that has become so large in my world that I sometimes can't see anything else. Mondays and Tuesdays I spend recovering from Sunday and Wednesday through Saturday I start thinking about the upcoming Sunday.

Recovery from this Sunday was short--by evening I was feeling good, but tired. I got up at 6:30 a.m. and was on the rails-to-trails at 8:30. It was still cool and the humidity was gone. I was eager to try out my new Nathan running vest. It's supposed to hold a "small" bladder, but it didn't state whether small was the 30 oz. or the 50 oz. So, I tried using my 70 oz. bladder from my Camelbak. About 15 steps into my running I feel this slap, slap, slap on my back. The overhang from the bladder that I stuffed into the vest was working itself loose. I had to turn around and put the bladder into the Cambelbak vest. This week I'll take the Nathan vest to the running shop and find the right-sized bladder for it. The vest is cool--very light weight and it has 2 pockets in the front to stash, keys, phone, food, etc. One pocket zippers, the other has a pull cord to close the top. On the Camelbak, all of the pockets are in the back, so I have to take the vest off to get to the goodies. Not very efficient, but very entertaining to anyone who is watching me flail my arms while I'm running to try to take it off so I don't lose any time--I'm a pro at multi-tasking, you know. It's just as funny watching me try to get it back on while running.

So, the run was feeling a bit sluggish. I wasn't really hurting, just not feeling real peppy. At mile 10 I considered bagging it, but remembered that Galloway says when you're feeling like you can't make it you need to distract yourself. So I visualized myself running toward the marathon finish line and DH was there waiting for me with Daisy, our dog.

He was down on one knee, pointing toward me, asking Daisy--where's Janice? Go find Janice. Then he let go of her leash and she comes bounding toward me, a big grin on her face, and her tongue hanging out. And then I burst into tears--only the tears weren't part of the visualization. I was really crying--I became completely unglued. It was the strangest thing.

After composing myself, the rest of the run went well. I used 8:2 run/walk ratio again. At mile 16, my 2nd wind arrived, and I ran the last 2 miles. I wrapped up the last mile in 10:48. And, darn, if I didn't start to cry again. I'm not talking about a few tears slipping down my face, it was all-out sobs. I was so embarrassed. I looked around to make sure no one was nearby; I didn't want anyone to think I was injured or crazy. I think I was overwhelmed that I ran 18 miles. I'm full of confidence and feel like I can take on the world when I finish, but deep down, I'm always questioning if I can accomplish each new goal. Guess that's why I'm running--I love feeling empowered, even if the feeling is fleeting.

I wrapped up the 18 miles in 3:46:48 for a pace of 12:55. I'm getting slower--what's up with that!!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UROPA40 8/27/2009 8:19PM

    I have had an emotional long run in the past, felt depressed and alone. I now am better about eating prior to any run longer then an hour. I can not even imagine 18 miles and right now doubt my abiltiy to run even a 1/2. My long run is at 7.5 miles and in September will go to 8. I plan to keep slowly increasing them each month by a 1/2 mile or so with the goal of my first 1/2 in cook forest. Not really following a plan right now, just running 3 days a week with a weekend long run. I have read Jeff Galloway and like his plans. I have some friends who are planning to run Cook Forest but they will be much faster then I am. Suzy

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TRILLIUM22 8/25/2009 11:26AM

    Great Job, I love that visualization. Daisy sounds like a great dog.

Good Luck

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BRIAN36 8/25/2009 6:58AM

    Congrats on finishing 18 miles. You are an amazing woman, Janice. I can relate to the sobbing, I bawled like a baby when I got a first place trophy at a 5k. I knew I ran well, but never expected it but the sense of accomplishment was so overwhelming I just couldn't control myself. Working hard every day to accomplish something and then really going out and getting it done can make even the strongest of us come unglued. But the best is yet to come for you.

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Eat Chocolate, Live Longer

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Every day I test my knowledge with SparkPeople's trivia. I'm surprised at how much I thought I knew about nutrition, health, exercise, diets, etc., but don't. I'm averaging about a 78% correct response rate.

One of today's questions caught me by surprise: Do people who eat chocolate live longer than those who don't? I've heard lots about the benefits of dark chocolate, but couldn't recall that it's a life-extender. And the question didn't specify dark vs. milk chocolate. I needed to over-think the question before I decided it had to be yes, because had it been no, I think the question wouldn't have even been posed.

And the answer is . . . . yes, by 1 year. Details weren't available (a Harvard University study with older men), and it raised more questions than answered. I'm skeptical. Is it 1 oz. of chocolate once a week? every day? What was the age of "older" men in the research group? How many participated? Dark or milk chocolate? Surely the results apply to women as well. Just to be on the safe side, I think I'll have a bite of chocolate now.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MUSCLEMOM_2 8/19/2009 1:56PM

    If I could stop at one , but one bite leads to another and then at the end of the day there's a trashcan full of dark chocolate wrappers. emoticon

Interesting tidbit, thanks for sharing!!!


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LIS193 8/19/2009 1:29PM

    I love chocolate and rather have a small piece of really good dark chocolate than the "junk" candy bars.

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DRAGONFLY1974 8/19/2009 1:26PM

    Beautiful timing! I just ate a small square of dark chocolate. I buy the individually wrapped ones, where 5 is like 180 calories and I eat 1 sometimes 2 a day and it keeps my chocolate cravings at bay!

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UPICARD 8/19/2009 1:23PM

    Interesting - think I'll have a little dark and milk chocolate - cover both bases! LOL!

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CORKEY58 8/19/2009 1:20PM

    I think I read that it's dark chocolate. I used to call myself a "chocoholic". Didn't think I could survive if I didn't have it everyday. I have reformed and now only have it occasionally. Maybe I should do like you KAYYVAUGHN, sounds good. And since it extends your life.......

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KAYYVAUGHN 8/19/2009 1:15PM

    I have really cut down on my chocolate intake. I eat one miniature dark chocolate after lunch and one after dinner. That satisfies me. emoticon

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Marathon Training – Weeks 12 – 14

Monday, August 17, 2009

It’s time to catch up on my blogging.

Week 12 (July 27-Aug. 2) Short on training this week. Only ran on Tuesday, the rest of the week was walking and just a little biking. Did not get in my weekend run of 7 miles. Vacation, after all, is a time to relax.

Week 13 (Aug. 3-9) was a total bust as far as training goes. I was truly on vacation—only ran once and that was a paltry three miles—I was scheduled to run 16 miles on the 9th. Biked just a little bit, but it was hardly a work out. There was plenty of walking, well, strolling or meandering might be a better description. But no regrets here—I needed that vacation.

Week 14 (Aug. 10-16) had the most demoralizing run ever. On Tuesday, I attempted a 16 mile run the day after returning from vacation. I didn’t get started until mid- to late-morning and it was very hot and humid. I failed miserably. It was so bad I couldn’t even bring myself to write about it. And that hasn’t changed.

On Thursday, I ran 3 x 1-mile with times of 9:04, 9:19 and 9:14, and I felt great afterward. What a difference a few days can make! The second attempt at 16 miles was a huge success and one of the best runs I have ever had. Before starting out, I told myself that if I had a repeat of Tuesday, I was hanging it up. Sunday I started late—it was almost 10 a.m.—on the rails to trails. There were lots of bikers already on the trail. The first mile or so felt like it always does—a little stiff. To be on the safe side, I modified my intervals of run/walk to 8:2 from 8:1. It made a huge difference. At mile 10 I felt like I was just hitting my stride. I did my best to contain my excitement and not get over-confident of my ability to finish the run. Along the way, I passed 4 other runners, all of them looked like they were going long distances. One guy in particular must have been cruising along at a 7-8 minute pace. He passed me coming and going—the last time, at mile 12 he gave me a thumbs up and said “Good job!!” I could have kissed him; it really made me feel good. I thanked him and said, “you, too.”

At mile 13, I knew I had it in the bag. I turned around to finish the last 3 miles back to the car. There was a spring in my step and a big grin on my face. My pace picked up, and I ran the entire last mile. No pain on this run, just some slight discomfort in my left hip. Total time: 3:17:10 for a 12:31 pace.

Eighteen miles, here I come!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRAGONFLY1974 8/18/2009 5:45AM

    WOOHOO!!! Man, those runs are still a little ways off for me, we do a 7 miler this weekend. We will get a 14 miler in before our first 1/2, then we will work on maintaining that training and trying to gain some time until January when we start mileage build up again for the full.

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BRIAN36 8/17/2009 9:34PM

    You're my idol. What more can I say? emoticon

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Crazy Daisy, the jalapeno pepper eating dog

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Last night I dropped a jalapeno pepper on the kitchen floor. Daisy, as usual, was glued to my leg while I prepared dinner, so she beat me to the pick up. Crunch, crunch, crunch, swallow, and it was gone. Okay, maybe it was a dud and wasn’t very hot. So I tasted the one slice I managed to cut off before it fell—it was extremely hot! Crazy dog. I gave her a big dollop of non-fat plain yogurt to cool the burn. Hard to believe, but she didn’t get sick. Dogs have a great sense of smell, but I question whether they have any sense of taste . . . or any sense at all sometimes. But we love her despite, ore maybe because of, her eccentricities.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRAGONFLY1974 8/17/2009 9:07AM

    Poor puppy! I think pets wolf their food down so fast they don't have time to taste!

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SORGIN 8/16/2009 9:54PM

    That is so funny! We have a crazy Daisy too, a black lab who eats anything. I agree with you. Sometimes they have no sense at all! But we love them anyway. I hope Daisy continues to be good health after that hot pepper!

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Devastated Garden

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ever since I planted the tomatoes in May, I've been eagerly awaiting the first picked tomato, plump and red (or yellow), and sun-warmed. For months I've been carefully tending the plants, trimming here and there, re-staking (they've gotten huge!!!), picking garden pests from their leaves, and making sure they've had plenty of water.

Just before leaving for vacation, a few of the cherry-sized Sun Gold tomatoes began to ripen. I picked a couple and popped them in my mouth, bit down and felt that satisfying "pop" as the skin split and the warm juice and seeds ran out bathing my mouth in their sweetness. I scoured the plants and gathered a few more to take home to tease the taste buds of DH and Daisy (our dog--she is a tomato fiend). During vacation, I kept telling DH how great it was going to be to get back to the garden and pick all of those ripe tomatoes--8 plants in all. Four Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and the rest heirlooms--Persimmon and Brandywine. My neighbor was going to lend me her canning equipment so nothing would got to waste.

The first hint at impending disaster came when I went through my email. There were several from the garden club warning that late blight was hitting the tomato and potato plants. There is no cure for late blight--the plants have to be pulled up and destroyed to keep the blight from spreading. Then I had an email from a friend whose garden is 4 rows down from mine--she had to pull up 5 tomato plants. After reading this news, I knew I had to get to the garden as soon as possible. A friend was caring for my garden while I was away and there wasn't any email from her, so I was cautiously optimistic that my plants hadn't been hit.

As soon as I got out of the car, I could see how many gardens had been hit with the blight. Once tall standing plants were shriveled, tomatoes bursting with the disease or imploding from within. I thought I was going to cry. When I reached my garden, I just stood there for the longest time looking at the disaster--all of the tomatoes had been hit and were in various stages of decay. Slimy, rotten tomatoes were on the ground, stakes pulled over from the weight of the dying plants lying on the ground. It was horrible. Pennsylvania has been hit hard with late blight, and I thought how devastating this must be on the farmers.

I started going through the plants, salvaging a number of the cherry tomatoes that still looked good. All of the heirlooms were beyond salvage. Slowly I started cutting them down and putting them in the garbage bag. After just pulling 2 plants, the bag was full, so I'll have to go back this weekend and finish cleaning up.

The rest of the garden is doing okay--there is more parsley than I know what to do with, the first eggplant was picked and another head of broccoli was ready. The mint is doing well so today I'll make a batch of minted simple syrup to sweeten ice tea. We'll also enjoy some mint juleps--perfect for this hot, sticky weather. The sugar snap peas and green beans are still producing, and I have a couple of yellow squash coming in--they were planted late. The brussel sprout plants are huge, but no sprouts. Not sure what is up with those--maybe they don't come in until later.

Despite the disappointing tomato crop, I've enjoyed the garden immensely and plan to garden again next year assuming the community garden program continues. I'm already researching tomato varieties resistant to blight. There is so much more to learn!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOONKEE2 8/15/2009 11:30PM

  i'm so sorry to hear what happened. Do you want some zuchinni?

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WILDCARD1 8/15/2009 1:26PM

    Sorry to hear what happened with your tomatoes. That is very disappointing. Our cucumbers and onions didn't come up this year, not sure what was up with that. Glad to hear that the rest of your veggies are doing good.

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MICHELLERI 8/15/2009 12:08PM

    I feel for you. We lost 28 tomato plants to the same thing. Our favorite vegetable was lost. The rest of the garden is doing well, but it is the tomatoes the family and friends really enjoy. emoticon. I guess we will have to look forward to next season.

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ALEXSGIRL1 8/15/2009 11:28AM

    every year we plant a garden and every year one or more crops don't produce sorry about the tomatoes. but it does soun like the rest of your garden is doing well. emoticon

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