Sunday, June 21, 2009
June 21, 2009 (end of week 6)
I'm not quite sure when it happened, but some time after committing to running The Flying Pig Marathon in May 2010, I became mildly obsessed with the thought of running a marathon in 2009. I'd tell friends and co-workers that I was considering it, thinking about it, that I'd make the decision after my half marathon in September. I'd fall to sleep thinking about it, I'd check marathon calendars during the day to see if one would fit into my schedule. So why didn't I just commit and get it over with? I was intimidated with the challenge of running 26.2 miles.
And then Nancy Howard's daily blog about Galloway's walk/run marathon program was front and center on SparkPeople. It was an "ah-ha" moment. 26.2 miles no longer seemed so intimidating when I could give myself permission to walk. (Until now, I thought I was a wimp if I had to resort to walking.) So, I went back to the half marathon/marathon calendars, worked out a schedule, and determined that the Harrisburg Half Marathon in September and Marathon in November fit perfectly around my other training programs--a cycling metric century (62 miles) in August and a Century (100 miles) in October. Then I bought Galloway's, "Marathon You Can Do it!" And I do believe I can.
The training program is 26-weeks; I'm using the "to finish" program. He has a beginner's program and various "for time" programs. I'm not setting a time goal for this marathon. My goal is to finish it and to not feel like I want to drop dead afterward. I feel confident I can accomplish this with his training program.
I'm starting at week 6 with a long run of 8 miles. The program alternates walking or cross training days with running days throughout the week so you don't overuse the running muscles and you have time to recover before the next run. Sundays are the gradually increasing long runs. Long runs are always preceded by a day off. For the short runs during the week, I'll run the entire distance and work in some hills & speed training. But the long run on Sunday will be the alternating runs/walks.
So, today was the first official long run. I chose to run 8:1 run/walk ration. I finished the first mile in 9:36--a bit faster than I had anticipated. The second mile was finished in 9:46--doing great. At the four-mile mark, I had run 00:40:16--just over 10-min. miles. I was really surprised that, indeed, I was running faster than usual during the running sections--something Galloway preaches can happen. About mile 6, I was becoming tired and my legs were on the verge of some cramping. The humidity is high today and it's hotter than I thought, and I didn't bring any water to drink along the way. But the walking breaks worked--just when I thought my legs would seize, it was time to take a walk break and that 1 minute was enough to let my muscles relax. I felt good enough that I ran the entire last mile and finished the run in 1:21:52 (10:19 pace).
Key points of the Galloway program:
1. Alternate running with walking on long runs (short runs, if needed). He makes some suggestions, but you need to find a ratio that works best for you. It can be as often as 1:1 if you're a true beginner runner.
2. Training runs should be about 2 minutes slower per mile than what you think you can run the marathon. He provides some charts so you can project your marathon time based on several 5K race times. If it's hot & humid, the pace should be even slower. The emphasis is on building endurance for the marathon.
3. Drink lots of water prior to a run--to the point you can hear it sloshing in your stomach.
4. Train with a group, if possible.
5. Have positive mantras or other distractions (jokes, funny stories) at hand so that when you become very tired and negative thoughts creep in (I'm tired; I can't make it), you'll have something positive to distract yourself with.
6. Focus on your running form. Body straight & in-line, strides not too long (can put extra stress on hamstrings). Better to "turn over" your feet more often than to lengthen stride to increase speed.
It's early in the program, but I think I'm going to like it. The schedule allows me to train, but still have a life outside of running. Having "balance" in my life is one of my core values.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Last night the "Fit Chicks" & friends and spouses got together for our 2nd annual Poker Paddle. Our leader went out earlier in the day and hid challenges around a lake. Our mission was to paddle via kayak out to the markers, grab a challenge, and return to the shore to do it. Challenges ran anywhere from holding a yoga pose for one minute, doing exercises--lunges, sit ups, etc., to doing word puzzles to eating challenges. If we completed a challenge successfully, we could pick a card from the deck. At the end of the evening, the best poker hand one.
My DH & I started out with a physical challenge - 50 sit ups & 50 push ups. Between us, we nailed them in no time at all. The 2nd challenge was to chug chocolate milk. I was expecting those little 2-cup bottles, but these were half gallon jugs. I love chocolate milk, so I drank most of the half gallon. It was only after I drank it that I looked at the label--it wasn't low-fat! Our leader is a bit of a health food fanatic, so I was shocked that it wasn't skim choc. milk. When I called her on it, she laughed and said she thought all chocolate milk was lowfat--she didn't know any other kind.
Well, I woke up this morning so full and uncomfortable I could barely roll out of bed. I finished my nutrition tracker this morning and yesterday I ate a whopping 2,300 calories (all those calories for a lousy pair of deuces). My usual day is around 1,500. I may have to skip getting on the scales this week; it's just going to be way too painful.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I headed out under gray skies last night to get in an hour run. About 20 minutes into it, the sky opened up and the rain began to fall. At times it was a hard rain, others a light drizzle. I felt at least 40 years younger--it's so much fun to run in the rain (at least when it's warm) and running in the rain felt much more refreshing than running in 98% humidity. It brought back memories of playing outside with my friends as a kid. Riding bikes & running through water puddles.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Last night our beginners' running group met to run 6 quarter miles with a limit of 4 minutes per quarter mile. The task at hand was to run up to the cones as fast as possible--if you finished in 1:58, then you got to enjoy a 2:02 rest until the next one. If it took 3:45, then you only had 00:15 to rest before the next one, which was back down the trail.
It was hot and very humid--they were calling for , but we didn't get one. The would have been . By the end of our runs, we all looked like we had been in a shower. My face was red as and sweat was dripping from my nose and chin and running into places I'd rather it not.
Going up the trail, I averaged around 2:13; going down the trail around 1:58. Surprisingly, the last run, which was down, was my best. That's because I pictured the coach as a big with floppy ears, and I was the fox. I came within 2 strides of catching him at the finish line.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Four friends started in Lockport, NY on Friday and ended in Palmyra, NY on Sunday, averaging about 28 miles per day. Even the most recreational cyclist could plan a trip along this section of the canal since there are so many communities to stop in for a rest.
This is the first trip in four years that we didn't have at least a few hours of rain. I'm so disappointed--I was looking forward to modeling the lovely and stylish hotel shower cap that I brought along to pull over my helmet.
The canal towpath is crushed limestone and well maintained; around Rochester it is paved. There are many small towns and villages along the way, so we cycled leisurely and explored a few. We saw some large boats and learned of a woman who was kayaking from Chicago to somewhere in New York all alone. Now, that is an adventure.
Friday (Lockport to Albion) was lovely, but with headwinds that made us hunker down low and pedal hard. We stopped to watch the draw bridges being raised and lowered to allow boats to pass through. In Medina, we stopped to take pictures in front of the large red apple--Medina is known for its apple orchards. In Albion, we stayed at the Fair Haven Inn and had a very nice dinner there. Everyone was very friendly.
Saturday morning (Albion to Rochester) started about 8:30 a.m. with breakfast at Tim Horton's. I must have my cup of joe. We stopped in Holley for their festival and walked down to see the falls at a small park. There a yoga instructor was giving a yoga class to young children. It was the perfect setting.
In Brockport, we stopped for "lunch" at an ice cream/chocolate shop and browsed the quaint shops. It was a lovely stop. In Spencerport, we rented tandem kayaks for an hour--what fun. That gave our upper body a work out and gave our legs a nice rest. As we were standing around deciding whether to have a bite to eat, a gentleman offered us his pizza that he had just bought. He said his eyes were larger than his stomach and he was going to throw it away if we didn't want it. So, we had pizza for a mid-afternoon snack.
That evening, Betsy & Cam, friends of one of our group, invited us to their house for dinner. What a treat!! Grilled sausages, rolls, fruit salad & mixed green salad. We have never eat so well on a bike trip. We were telling our hosts about the great ice cream we had in Brockport. That's when we learned that the man who had waited on us in the shop was their son. He works there part time while going to SUNY, Brockport. What a small world!!
Sunday (Rochester to Palmyra) we started at 9 a.m. so that Betsy could join us from Rochester to Fairport, where we would stop for a Canal Days Festival. She led the way and gave us a cycling tour of the University of Rochester, pointing out various landmarks and giving us a history lesson.
Fairport is a lovely town. There were dozens of arts and crafts vendors and food booths. After a walking tour of the festival area to scope out the great food, we went our separate ways to grab lunch. I had a wonderful freshly-made crepe filled with a southwestern-seasoned chicken and lots of greens. We all headed to the ice cream shop after lunch for dessert. We said our good-byes to Betsy & Cam, and then we were off to Palmyra. After Fairport, the trail is less populated and we pass through fewer towns.
When we arrived in Palmyra, our shuttle service was waiting for us and we headed back to Lockport. As soon as all of the photos are compiled, I'll post a few.
This trip was a welcome change from our usual 50-80 miles per day bike trips. On those trips, it's just pedal hard and fast and all we have ever seen is the trail. Plans are already underway for next year: Palmyra to Rome or Utica, or if time permits, to Albany.
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