"Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don't have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Run, Skip, and a Hop

This weekend's run was far better than the weekend prior. Only having to do 13 miles, was much more of a mental relief than anything else. It was warm and sticky, but definitely manageable.

After the 13 miler, I thought I'd tackle some plyometrics (aka lots of jumping). I have been making my XC runners do a lot of plyos this season, so I figured I should be doing them as well. I gave my body about 2 hours to recover from my 13 mile run and then jumped (literally) into an hour Plyometrics X (P90X) routine. It was jumping, squating, squating and jumping, twisting, and more jumping. Did I say there was a lot of jumping required? It was a toughy, but felt so great when I finished.

It is now Monday afternoon, and I am STILL SORE from the Plyometrics. But I understand the benefits of jumping in regards to running, and building strength and power. I am going to try and do the plyometrics routine once a week. And I plan on doing the entire P90X routine after my marathon.

10/10/10-->On my mind :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Body Shocker

This weekend marked the first of three 20 mile runs mapped out in my marathon training program. I was extremely optimistic about this run, given the 19 miler had gone so well, the weekend prior. However, a new set of conditions presented themselves, leading to a more challenging run.

This was my first long run, downtown Minneapolis. I wasn't sure which way to venture, so early in the morning, and still be dark. I had to start my run at 5:00AM so I could finish before taking my athletes to athletic retreat. It was hot and humid, and I always seem to struggle in those conditions. Suited with my purple powerade in my fuel belt, and Pomegranate Blueberry chews on me, I ran. And I ran. And I ran. There were many stops where I wondered if it was worth it. I was sad that Jeremy wasn't by my side, telling me to keep going, and to stay strong. I could feel the salt from my body, covering my skin. But I finished the run!!! And I celebrate because I finished that run!

I immediately got back to my room to do some stretching, knowing that a little sorenes would soon ensue--which is only normal. I then proceeded to take my first ice bath. I know they are extremely good for recovery, but I haven't been an athlete who took advantage of this information. Because I knew I had a busy weekend ahead, I figured an ice bath may be to my advantage. I jumped in the tub of cold water, and poured the big container of ice over my legs. I could only muster about 5 minutes in the tub, before I needed out. A warm shower then became much appreciated. After my shower, I took off for Wisconsin, with the Runnin Rams for a weekend of running and conditioning :)

When we got to camp, the ladies did an easy 3 mile run (chalking up my mileage to 23 miles for the day). Later on in the afternoon/evening, I started getting a sore throat. I went to bed that night, having a difficult time swallowing. I then woke up feeling like my head was not attached to my body, and a stuffy nose to go along with it all.

Needless to say, as much as I understand how valuable ice baths are to recovery, I don't know that my body was prepared to go from extreme humidity, to extreme cold, and right back out to extreme humidity. I'm thinking that's what got me sick. I don't think I'm completely opposed to the ice bath, but I do think the next time I take one, I won't go right back outside in the humidity. Lesson learned.

Still battling the cold. But I have stalked up on tissues, Theraflu (my drug of choice), and throat drops.

But the beautiful part of all the madness is that the XC season is full swing. It is such a joy to get to see the Runnin Rams, twice a day! They truly bring such great joy to my heart! I think a fair statement would be that they bring immense joy to my heart, and Trey and I bring immense pain to their bodies, at least during pre-season :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

19 Miles & Feeling Good

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I become much of a spazz (for lack of a better adjective), when it comes to my long runs. For some reason, I am overcome by anxiety and fear over my long runs. Usually a day or two before a long run I begin to question whether I am capable and/or prepared for the work ahead. I wonder if I will have to walk, or if I will have the determination to finish. At the end of a run, I am always satisfied that I finish. Sometimes I am disappointed with the rest breaks, but always content with completion.

My long run last weekend was a 19 miler. I was hoping to get it out of the way on Saturday morning. I got up at 5:00AM hoping to get an early start and get it over with. Although the temps were cooler than days prior, the humidity was still high from the storm Friday night (100% humidity, per weather.com). Disappointed with the humidity level, I decided it would be best to hold off until Sunday morning before church.

Saturday night, Jeremy and I slept (if that's what you want to call it), on an air mattress, for the last night in our Maple Grove home. I tossed and turned, and froze. When my alarm went off at 5:00AM, both Jeremy and I were both eager to get up, as we hadn't slept much anyway.

I am so grateful for Jeremy, and his willingness to accompany me on my long runs. His presence brings peace to my spirit as I pound the pavement. We were out the door by 5:20AM. It was cool and the humidity levels were way down. I could not have prayed for a more glorious morning! I decided I was going to take a slower pace, but focus on staying in control and being steady along the run. Turns out that was a fantastic plan. We hit the stoplights at the perfect time--we did not have to stop. I wasn't even craving fluids for most of the journey. The temps were lower, so I wasn't sweating as much. Jeremy was content and soothing as he encouraged me, and continually checked in with me. He stayed with my for 14 of my 19 mile journey, until he had to go back to get things ready for church. After he left me, I had come so far, I knew I had 5 more miles in me. I knew I could do the last 5 without stopping...and I did!

As mentioned, my pace was much slower than usual (an average 8:04/mile pace). But I felt strong, both physically and mentally. I am convinced that three contributing factors influenced this run: 1. The Lord being my strength and reminding me of His ever-present help in my weakness. 2. My faithful husband who never fails to believe in my abilities, even when I lack the confidence. 3. The cool temps and low humidity, allowing my body to stay cooler than normal.

It is runs like this one that remind me why 4 months of training is worth it. When I finish a run that I am proud of, I build my confidnece for the next one! 19 miles has never felt so good!

Thank you Lord. May my running, my training, and my discipline make You smile. Thank you Jeremy--You reflect the beauty of the Lord.

Friday, August 6, 2010

You Know You're Training for a Marathon When......

I had a couple thoughts in regards to marathon training. Here they are.

You know you are training for a marathon when:

1. You go through a pair of shoes in less than 3 months.
2. A bathroom stop on the side of a dirt road doesn't seem like a big deal.
3. You've tried every flavor of sportbeans, gels, cliff shots, and luna moons available.
4. You go to bed early, just so you can start your run early the next morning to beat the heat.
5. You know the words to every song on your ipod---even if you have a gazillion loaded.
6. You've almost been hit by a car when they decided that stop signs were optional at 5:00AM.
7. You plan your meals in advance to ensure proper fueling for long run days.
8. You beg your spouse/friend to bike alongside you, because their company is FAR better than any song or audiobook on the trusted ipod.
9. You can't sign up for any more races, because your long run days have exceeded the half marathon distance.
10. A 12 mile run day feels like a recovery day!

Those are just a few of them! I set out for my 12 mile run this morning, with Jeremy by my side (on bike). This was an enjoyable run at a comfortable 7:45/mile pace. 12 miles seemed so comfortable after doing 17 miles last weekend. Next weekend I have a lovely 19 miler to look forward to. The nice thing about the run next weekend is we will officially be Minneapolis residence, and I will have the beautiful lakes (Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Harriet, and Nokomis) to look forward to! New scenery, and mostly flat terrain! I'm ready for that new adventure!