Sunday, September 28, 2008

Third Time's a Charm

Yesterday I finished my last longish run until the marathon, 15.5 miles. It was a relief because I don't need to eat any more gels until 10/12. I'm still feeling pretty good, although in much need of a massage. My hamstrings and hips are creeek-y!

I was pretty proud of myself because my mile splits were so even. 8:30, 8:30, 8:29, 8:22, 8:24, 8:29....I somehow am really good at just an holding effort. It's something I've always been pretty good at, even as a bike racer. My husband seems to think it takes a lot of focus, but I think it's just the opposite. I feel like once I'm at a particular effort I can just lock in and keep going. I mostly think about other things, like what I'll make for dinner, or who my clients are for the afternoon, what Camille and I can do later. And sometimes I come back to the running. Lately I have been thinking about what I'd like to accomplish in this marathon. It'll be my 5th one and I think I should be able to overcome some of the things I've failed at, or not quite understood how to get through.

I've been teaching myself little tricks on how to get through the pain and keep the pace up. Because at mile 22 when you have no glycogen left, your legs and hips are screaming, and your feet are about to explode out from your shoes, you gotta find distraction. I've learned how to focus on a spot on the ground ahead of me. The worse I feel, the closer the spot. This seems to break up the miles into mini-goals. I also have learned to count. Rather than count each step, I count only when my right foot hits. I loose count somewhere around 450, but it's over a half mile anyway. And when it's really hurting, I found that chanting works best for me. These are some of them that I've come up with:

- Do you want to make you goal today or not?

- Stay strong stay strong

- You don't want a disappointment today

- Stay strong today

- Don't give in

- It's your head not your body that's hurting so move it

- You can rest when it's over

- You've been through this before and you know what to do

Probably one of the best moments I had was when I was running my 20 miler in the pouring rain. I ran the first 12 miles with the Glen Ellyn Runners (waaaay too fast) and then finished up the last 8 on my own. At about mile 16, I remembered that at home I could eat! Food! Not a gel or a block, but real food like a bagel with almond butter, jelly and banana. It made those last 4 miles really not so bad. So I guess when it gets really tough I just need to remember that there's beer and a Ceasar salad waiting for me. And yes, that is really what I'm looking forward to. The salt on it is just glorious.

But still, as always, one of the best sights out there on a run is Barry and Camille. Like yesterday, when I least expected them, there they were. Camille so excited to give me water and make sure I'm ok. She always says, "Mommy, do you want to see how fast I can run?" And off she goes as Barry and I watch her blast away and just hope for no spills. Our little runner.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

18 days

I was running the other day (duh) and realized that I'm going to have to run a marathon soon. All this time it has just been this "thing" that might happen. Taking it day by day, I've managed to get through and am in fact quite fit. Amazingly, I feel better than I usually do at this point in a program. Perhaps that's because I didn't follow a program and instead listened to my body and my intuition and did what I needed to do to feel good for the full 12 weeks.

There's a lot of optimism this time around. An injury came early rather than late in my training, i don't have weird cramps like I usually do running hard (thanks Michelle), and I even got a cold early rather than 10 days before the event. I know I'm not out of the woods yet, but still. I'm pretty psyched. 3:30? 3:32? 3:28? 3:40.58?

But, I also know that anything can happen because 26.2 miles is a LONG way. Like for example, if it's 82 degrees at the start. This year I plan on finding Jody and she and I can run to the half-way mark and then head to the bar. Detroit has a marathon the following weekend we can do.

I have a whole box full of goals to make running Chicago this year the best. More on these later. But for now, if you want to track me, my number is 6608. You can sign up to track athletes at

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Skirting the issue

I did it. I joined the fashion runners. My friend Jody has always thought that I was a matchy runner, but now not only am I matchy, I'm fashionable. I bought one of those running skirts, which really just looks like a tennis skirt. I always thought they were cute, but couldn't let go of my ego that told me they were really only for "recreational" runners.  Or for girls/women thinking that going out for a 3 mile run is a big deal. 

But since moving here in June, I've seen a lot of fast women running on the Prairie Path. And many of them are wearing these skirts. Somehow no matter what time I run I see the same people running. Usually they're in the about the same spot too. It's a very strange phenomenon. Like we're all on the same unspoken schedule of sleeping in or getting up early to run as well as distance and pace of our runs. Most of these women have kicked my butt in local races, too. Sub 7 minutes used to be the milestone to beat. Now it seems like 6:30 is the milestone. I'm not sure I'll ever get there, but maybe so in my new sassy skirt! 

That is if my foot ever decides to heal itself. There was a glorious 3 month period from Boston to July 20th when my foot didn't hurt. But since then it's been touch and go. My current podiatrist thinks I have, or had, a stress fracture. I don't see how this is possible. Stress fractures REALLY hurt. They don't allow you to run and even walking is troublesome. I wouldn't describe my foot pain as REALLY hurting. It's more of an ache that I'm trying to protect so that it doesn't get any worse. Problem is, it's not getting any better. The x-ray films show a very light line that could indicate a stress fracture. But the Dr. doesn't know if it's old or new or about to happen. So all this uncertainty makes me crazy. Any slight increase in pain in my foot makes me think I've finally broken it. But then a few hours later it's totally fine. Or the fact that I got through 40 miles last week with no troubles, including an 18 mile run. And then yesterday I ran 12 without any pain but blisters forming on the toes. 

I think what I need to do is find a new doctor. Someone who will analyze my stride, my pain patterns, and do a bone scan. But for now, I plan to run today and this weekend. 6 more weeks until the marathon. I'm already starting to have dreams about loosing my race day clothes and missing the start. Maybe I should go get a back-up skirt...