Monday, August 13, 2012
I finally did it. I broke past the Half Marathon mind barrier and ran 14 miles on Saturday. YUSS!!!
And this week I'll do it again and run 16 miles!
I have now reached the point in my training where every week is going to be a new mileage challenge, new barriers to break. I will run SEVEN Half Marathon distances (and then some) in the next 7 weeks, followed by one week of "only" 12 miles and then the Marathon. Holy Crap.
But here's why I know I can:
This week I did my first Brick. It was a backwards brick, but I say it still counts. I ran 3 miles, followed up immediately by 30 minutes of laps in the pool. On that 3 mile run, I finally broke my 10 min/mile goal and ran all 3 miles in 30 minutes. I went out after and celebrated with a friend, with fries and beer. Because I could.
The following day I ran 8 miles. It was hard on my knees and I was feeling it by the end of the run. Running those quick 3 milers aren't always so great because I end up pounding and my knees end up paying the price. But I finished those 8 miles anyway and vowed to rest up on Friday before my Saturday long run.
I had to work my show on Friday night which means I was out until 1:30am. Not the most optimal conditions for running that long and that far the next day, but I do what I can. I still came home and fueled properly before bed, and then because it was supposed to be cooler on Saturday, opted to let myself sleep until I woke up and run into the afternoon as opposed to making myself get out of bed first thing in the morning.
Still playing with eating gluten-free before long runs, so I fueled in the morning with cornflakes and chocolate almond milk, cheese, and grapes with 1/2 bottle of Powerade and a Salt Stick tablet.
Headed out to run the same route I completed last week with a 3 mile run to the Lakefront Trail and then tacking on an extra mile and back at the end. Worked great although I'm looking forward to switching up my starting point this coming weekend.
The plan was to re-fuel at mile 5 and 10 on this run - hopefully giving myself more needed boosts than less to get over this mental and physical bump. By the time I reached 5 miles, my knees were already starting to feel it and I was thankful for the Hammer Gel. Not my favorite gel for sure - it tastes like pure corn syrup (which I think it probably is) and without the added caffeine, it only got me so far. It still worked - man it's crazy how well these things do what they're supposed to - but just not my favorite by far. But it got me to the end of the trail, around the loop, and back down to the 8 mile point where I really had to start talking myself into getting through those next 2 miles. My knees were aching pretty badly, but a quick stop to stretch them out helped immensely and I was able to make the next couple of slow miles. At the 10 mile marker I fueled with a caffeinated GU. Winner winner chicken dinner. It was a berry flavour - which I find I far prefer to the citrus variety (good to know) and after going through a week of caffeine detox in my daily life (more on that later) it pretty much hit like rocket fuel. I also went down a short flight of stairs to get to a drinking fountain to wash it down, and just that change in leg movement did wonders for my knees (good to know). At this point, talking myself into another 4 miles wasn't as tough. Once I got through the first mile, it was just a 5K to the finish. The next mile put me at my home street, so from there is was just a "quick" down and back to North Avenue beach which was crawling with hot men, beach volleyball players, and enough general mayhem to keep my mind off any discomfort I was feeling. Success! I passed the 13.1 mile marker in 2:41 and clocked a perfect 12 min mile to the end. Couldn't have been happier.
I am definitely feeling the distance in my body more today and yesterday than I was after 12 miles, but I think that's to be expected. I am by no means "crippled" with post-run stiffness - just a little sore in the knees, hamstrings, and calves, which I will continue to monitor, stretch and roll out over the next few days. And running over the noon hour? I have a KILLER sun tan. Too bad about those tan lines though. I have a perma-racer-back going on :)
So to sum up lessons from this week:
1. Go easy on the shorter runs. Speed work is essential for people trying to break a record, but I'm just trying to get to the start line without an injury!
2. GU wins. As much as I didn't like it the first couple of times I tried it, compared to the others in the middle of a run, it's just better. And berries beat oranges in my book. Huzzah.
3. Caffeine detox during the week means that caffeine loaded gels have more potency during long runs.
4. Stopping to stretch out the arms and back every couple of miles helps maintain form, but making sure that knee stretching is included in those stretch breaks ensures less knee discomfort while running as well.
5. Stair breaks could help with knee pain - switch in the muscle groups used mid-run helps reset the motion of the joint & ligaments. Makes sense!
6. Next week I'm either getting an anti-chafing stick or using deodorant under the underwear & sports bra lines. There is no reason to continue maiming myself on these long runs! I have the scars to prove it.
What I sometimes have a problem remembering is that I AM AN ATHLETE. I will often think that I am undeserving of something, or I don't really need something (fuel, proper clothing, anti-chafing tools) because I'm "not really THAT serious, right?" Not true. You're training for and running A MARATHON. This stuff is MADE to help you get where you're going. You've EARNED the right to try it out and make it work for you just by signing up to do this insane thing. People can't run marathons without fueling. Well - they can, but I'm certainly not at that level yet. If you don't wear the right clothing, you will end up with scars. Anything that rubs continuously on your skin for 5 hours is going to a) blister, b) burn, c) hurt like hell. So don't be afraid of using the tools that have been developed to make your life a little easier while you do this. Having a gear addiction at this point is ok. No one is going to question it. A lot of people do the work because they want the gear. I feel like I have to earn the gear. So I think this finally qualifies as earning it. (And then it totally amazes me when it works...haha...DUH?!)
The only thing that I am still not pleased about is the inability to lose weight while doing all this hard work. The proof is in the pudding - I have GAINED 3 pounds, and it's sticking around. And that's while I'm burning over 4000 calories a week. Gah. I can't help it. I'm hungry ALL the time. But this is just proof that pure exercise (and A LOT) of it, does not make you skinny. It makes you muscular as all get out - I have some serious legs y'all - but cutting back food intake is the only thing that will help you shed pounds. And right now, that is something I cannot do. Boo.
Oh well. Imma keep runnin'...
Week 18 Schedule (Completed):
Mon - Rest
Tue - Rest
Wed - 3 miles + Swim
Thu - 8 miles
Fri - Rest
Sat - 14 miles
Sun - Rest
Total Weekly Miles: 25
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 4114
Weekly Friday Weigh-In: 188.5
Week 19 Schedule:
Mon - 6 mile tempo
Tue - Rest
Wed - 3 miles + Swim
Thu - Rest
Fri - 5 miles
Sat - Rest
Sun - 16 miles