Chicago Marathon

Been a while…

It’s been a while… I’ve missed writing. Work got crazy, eating got outta control, running was miserable, exhaustion set in, then we built a fence and had a big ol’ 30th (birthday party. I still have “extra” projects I’m working on and I can’t quite seem to get into the groove of a new schedule. So that’s why I haven’t written. Why on earth would anyone want to hear my whining and groaning about life circumstances? Well no one would. So I kept my mouth shut. You’re welcome.

Somewhere between my discovery of a medicinal concoction that solves my can’t-breathe-when-I-run-faster-than-10-and-a-half-minutes-per-mile dilemma, the acceptance that working will always suck no matter where I do it, my husband’s new commitment to try to stress less at work, and a random surge of new “fighter” attitude, I’ve become my normal self again. Maybe I was just subconsciously freaking out about turning 30 too? I wasn’t, but everyone acts like you should, so maybe deep down I did? Who knows.

Anyway, my marathon training has been going so, so well. I’ve really set my mind on just what I need to do each day in training and taking one decision at a time. I know next week I have to run 3, 5, 3, and 10 miles on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but I’m not thinking about that yet. I’m thinking about what I’m going to eat for dinner tonight and when I need to wake up for yoga in the morning. If I start dreading my 5 mile run Tuesday morning, I’ll get overwhelmed. I’ll think about that Monday and simply do it. Just do it. Nike knows what’s up.

My actual runs having been challenging but good. I’ve found that if I take 5mg generic Zyrtec before I go to bed at night (I cut a 10mg pill in half) and have two puffs from my inhaler about 15 minutes before I run, my lungs are happy and I can enjoy my run. I tried the whole 10mg of Zyrtec at first, but I was too groggy the next day. All day. I could hardly stay awake at work. 5mg is just enough. I also have a sinus irrigator that I’ll sometimes use in the afternoon if I’m starting to get a sinus headache later in the day. Within 30 minutes, head aches is essentially gone and I’m not taking ibuprofin non stop.

Today I ran 8 miles at the butt crack of dawn. Literally. Okay, not exactly literally – dawn doesn’t have a butt crack. But you get what I mean. It was insanely early. I had to work at 8 so I woke up at 4:30am and left the house a little before 5 to run my normal Saturday trail at 5:15. Honestly, I loved it. I love waking up early in the summer. “The sky’s awake. So I’m awake!”

The first few miles were rough. They always are. By the time I got to about 3 1/2 miles, I started to feel pretty good. I got stuck by a train for 4-5 minutes at mile 5, but I got right back into my groove when I started back up again. I finished in 1 hour, 16 minutes to the cheering and applause of my 40-person running group that was just huddling up to begin their run. Embarrassing and fun. My splits were fantastic and I finished a lot stronger than I thought I would. It probably helped that I stopped for a few minutes. And that the weather was perfect. 60 and sunny! Still, I feel way more confident coming off a good longer run.

 

Lovely negative splits.

Lovely negative splits.

 

In addition to running, I’ve also been doing yoga once a week and weights once a week. The strength, balance, and core strengthening has really helped my running too! Someday, I’ll have to post on just my cross training. I actually bought my husband and myself tennis rackets. Hopefully my cross training will include tennis pretty soon too! Currently, I’m trying to figure out when I can fit in one more day of weight training into my week. I have a few clothes that don’t fit right now because I’m not as lean as I was this winter. I know I can get there, I just have to do it!

Eating… I go through phases. I’ll be good for a couple days, then eat a couple handfuls of dark chocolate chips. Better than my ultimate vice, Jr Mints, but still not great. I’m learning that since I run/workout in the morning, I really need to have more protein in my breakfast (cereal is not an option!), a morning snack on days I run more than 5 miles, and a large lunch with lots of veggies. My afternoon snack just needs to hold me over til my early (5 – 5:30) dinner, which is the best meal to have carbs for my workout the next morning, and then if I need to nibble at night, I should have a little chocolate, and a lot of fruit. I know these things, but do I implement them? Course not. But each decision, every day, every week, I get closer.

So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m going to try and stay more on top of writing throughout the rest of my marathon training at least. I know that several people have commented on how motivating my blog is. That is such a massive compliment. I really never thought of myself as an encourager or motivator. I’m very flattered. And I’m trying. Thanks for sticking around.

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Happy First Day of Marathon Training!

My stomach is in knots today. I’m terrified, nervous, excited, and anxious. It might have something to do with my afternoon chocolate binge, but I suspect it’s because I’m officially in training for my first marathon!¬†As the out-of-shape big kid growing up, I never thought in a million years that I’d be running a marathon. Let alone be excited about it! I’ve come a long way. From young and overweight and hating to run, to “trying” to lose weight as a teen, to over exercising and under eating as a young adult, to actually losing over 40 lbs and becoming a legitimate runner in the last few years. So many emotions. (I may be PMS-ing, sorry if that’s TMI) I also have a long way to go. I’m ¬†still about 10 lbs overweight for my height and frame and need to get that off for the sake of my joints, heart, and lungs. I have 431.4 miles left to run in the next 18 weeks – one week is 40 miles alone! And I need to fund raise – my goal is $1,310 – over $50 for each mile of the marathon (which is 26.2 miles). I anticipate this being a summer of hard work and character change. (Or if could just be a really fun challenge!)

This morning was just a 3 mile easy run. Rewinding a bit back to Saturday, I ran a 5k test run. A test run tells you what you can expect your marathon finishing time to be and what pace to train at. There’s a whole chart, you could probably Google it if you wanted to check in out for yourself. I found out that I’m on track to finish between 4 hours, 30 minutes and 4 hours 45 minutes, or a 10 minute, 45 second pace per mile. That’s great news is it’s right where I’d hoped to be. Even though my finishing time Saturday was on target, I had a horrible run. When I went back and checked my splits, they were opposite of what they should of been. Typically, you want to start slow and get faster as you go. It’s called a negative split and it’s essential to finishing strong. As you can see below and had consistently positive splits. (Is that even a term?)

 

Those numbers are going the wrong way!

Those numbers are going the wrong way!

This morning I decided to flip that around. I started off pretty slow and gradually built up speed. By the end I was feeling pretty good! When I checked my splits this time, they were perfectly negative! Much better! Going on from here, I’m going to try and stick with a 9:30 pace for my weekday “easy” runs with nice negative splits. That’s the goal at least.

Great negative splits!

Great negative splits!

I should touch on my little binge for a second. I failed miserably this afternoon. I got too hungry because I had to run a bunch of errands during my normal lunch time so I was starving when I got home. I have two smallish chocolate bars and a fun sized York Peppermint Patty before I stopped myself. It could’ve been worse, but I felt gross, bloated, and groggy afterward. I’m going to try and remember that next time I want to binge. I feel so much better when I eat well!

I briefly mentioned fund raising earlier. I’m raising money for World Vision to build wells in Africa. $50 is enough for one person to have clean water for a lifetime. That’s the short version. Pretty soon I’ll try and get all of my thoughts together about my commitment to World Vision and their cause. In the meantime, if you’re feeling like you want to support me in my training regardless of my deeper thoughts, opinions, and emotions tied to this cause, you can visit my fund raising page and donate online. Anything you could give would really be an encouragement for me! Thanks!

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