(Half) Marathon Reflection…Tuesday

I know there are days of silence going on right now.  I’m not really sure when the official one is (I’ve seen several), but I know I couldn’t bring myself to post for the last several days.  I am heartbroken over the events of last week.  I came home for lunch on Friday and I sat in front of CNN and cried, and I still can’t make it through a news story without getting a terrible feeling deep in my gut.  I don’t think anyone, myself included, will recover from this emotionally for a very long time.  My thoughts and prayers are, and have been, with the people of Newtown.

The family of one of the little girls just moved to Connecticut from an Albuquerque suburb recently and they were members at the gym that Aaron manages.  Emilie Parker used to go to the gym day care pretty often and a few of Aaron’s employees knew her pretty well.  According to the news, her favorite book was Charlotte’s Web, and she used to greet her kindergarten teacher here in New Mexico last year with a “salutations, teacher” every morning.


This weekend I was looking at my calender, and I realized that, even though I’m doing two separate training cycles, I am 4 months out from Boston meaning I am officially in the marathon training time frame.  So soon?  Truthfully, right now the thought of 17 mile runs is slightly overwhelming. I was so excited to start training for my first marathon back in June, and even though I’ve forgotten the pain of the actual race (MARATHONS ARE FUN!), I remember vividly the lost weekends, miserable 800’s, and chaffing/bleeding/blistering.  Even now that I’m getting back into the 10-12 mile runs, I’m starting to get a slight feeling of dread as I lace up my shoes.

And this weekend’s 10 miler wasn’t my most inspired long run.  Turns out, if you spend the winter running on a nice flat treadmill in a climate controlled guest bedroom and then attempt to run up a mountain, your body rebels in grand fashion. On Saturday, we kept hoping that if we waiting a bit longer to head out, the temperature would rise.  It kind of did (36 degrees is warmer than 27 degrees)…  As much as I run, I haven’t invested in any long running pants, so I wore shorts and compression socks. Meanwhile I saw people walking dogs who looked prepared for a walk in Antarctica. I was ok, but I think that my legs took an extra long time to warm up, and they had that weird tingling and redness that comes from sweating and simultaneously freezing.

The uphill miles were SLOW and I didn’t quite get the exhilarating feeling of flying during the downhill miles either.  Our past few (flat coursed) long runs have been fast, and I’ve been able to get 7 miles in during the first hour.  On Saturday I barely got 6 in during the first hour.  Luckily, it wasn’t completely miserable, but it did serve as a good wake up call that I haven’t been keeping to my weekly goals and and apparently I’ve forgotten about those lessons learned the hard way during marathon training.

So, as a reminder to myself of what I said I would do at the beginning of the cycle, here’s what needs work for the next 5 weeks leading up to Operation Fast Half.

1) Train in harder conditions than you want to:  Neither RnRAZ or Boston are flat.  So why am I training on a flat surface? Hitting pace goals is nice, but that won’t help power me through Heartbreak Hill.

2) Weight lifting/muscle burning exercises: my muscles are tiring faster than they should.  And my shoulders keep tensing.  During marathon training I discovered that rows helped prevent shoulder tightness.  Yet I haven’t been doing them.

3) Yoga, stretching, and general injury prevention: My calves are tight every day.  Running on tight muscles without taking care of them is a sure way to get injured.  I also have been neglecting the foam roller.  I will say though, I don’t see myself icing any time soon.  Ice is cold.

4) Cross-training: This isn’t nearly as essential during half training because the mileage really isn’t enough to completely burn me out or really injure me from over-training, but I still want to be doing more spinning and swimming for overall fitness. I haven’t in a couple of weeks.

5) Core exercises: I haven’t been doing my daily core exercises.  Instead of feeling like a cohesive unit barreling through space while running, I feel like I’m flopping around like an octopus.  My body parts aren’t working together.  And my lower back has been aching more recently.

I’m less than 5 weeks out from what is supposed to be a strong fast half that will help me transition into “Don’t Be the Slowest Person at Boston” marathon training, and I need to start taking this seriously.

I think I started falling into the mindset that, hey, it’s the holidays, I can be lazy.  But I can’t.  (Sidenote: this new enthusiasm may be slightly prompted by the creation of my 10 year high school reunion facebook group.  I’ve never been very keen on actually going to my high school reunion, but I suddenly feel pressure to have some noteworthy accomplishments.  Like, maybe I haven’t climbed the corporate ladder or moved out of state after talking loudly about how much I hated New Mexico for the first 18 years of my life and the last 5 years after college, but I can run a fast marathon, gosh darn it!).

And really, I should be taking advantage of the fact that my long runs are only 10 miles and weekly mileage is between 20-35 miles because too soon I’ll be back to thinking 10 miles is any easy day (just kidding…I’ve NEVER thought that!).

On the Christmas front, I am now way behind on my gingerbread house.  I need it to be done by Saturday, but I have so much left to do.  I  may have to pull some all nighters here this week….

Hope everything on your Christmas to-do list is getting done! Only one more week to fit in as much Christmas as you can!

21 thoughts on “(Half) Marathon Reflection…Tuesday

  1. Commendable goal list! It is much harder to train during the holidays than usual. On the other hand, running is what’s keeping my waistline from expanding after eating/drinking those holiday treats. Good luck!

    • It really is. I thought I’d be better this year, but I was wrong. Still hard! And yeah, during the week where I was slacking I jumped up 4 pounds, so that was a helpful wake-up call too!

  2. The doldrums of winter are upon us…find some tights already…and some gloves…and a knit cap…and a jacket…so that way, you will stay warm and motivated. I like your goals as well, same boat. Time to get back at it! And ten years (!), shoot, I am almost at …gulp….20….well not almost, but close enough!

    • I have everything except for the tights. I guess I just run on the treadmill so much during the winter that I haven’t found them to be a necessary purchase thus far. And yeah, I know I’m going through my own crisis over having graduated high school 10 years ago, but in the grand scheme of life, I’m not very old at all. Still though. 10 years.

  3. Happy Training! I don’t think I’ll EVER get to the point where a 10 mile run is a short run, but you never know! 😉 But seriously find some running tights. I actually am pretty sure my ‘running tights’ are biker tights, and they are SO warm and cozy. It’s gotta be below freezing for me to whip those babies out though. Consider it an investment! 🙂
    (These look similar, I actually bought mine second hand… http://www.rei.com/product/837193/pearl-izumi-sugar-thermal-bike-tights-womens)

    • Thanks for the suggestion! I guess I just haven’t run outside enough during the winter, and wow they are definitely an investment!

      And right now, I think anything above 7 miles feels like a long run. I’ve seen some crazies do 10 miles a few times a week. WHY???

      • I definitely don’t understand. Even when training for a marathon or ultra-marathon, I couldn’t pick myself up to run that far more than a couple times a week!!
        Winter running is a whole new game, and depending on how cold it gets, it’s definitely worth the investment. Maybe you could find them used on amazon or eBay?

  4. I know what you mean. I’m supposed to start Boston training soon. I was going to run the Phoenix Rock n Roll, but am having some health issues and a little foot niggle. I took this week off hoping to feel better before jumping back into training. Not sure it’s working. Yikes!

    • Oh no! I saw your blog post about not running at all this past weekend. How annoying. Luckily Boston is still far enough away that hopefully you recover completely and still get in some good training!

  5. You definitely need winter tights! Don’t know if you’ll need thick ones like mine, but some kind of long tights, definitely. Maybe Aaron’s bought you come for Xmas????? Any type of new gear could be good motivation as well.

    I feel you about the gingerbread house, I’m making them with my students at school while they’re all preparing for our Xmas concert Friday. One house has all is sides made, another has front and back, and the rest consist of lumps of gingerbread in my fridges at school. I’m a stress ball over them! Btw, the stained glass window stuff totally works, I’ve made both the houses like that and cookies. Just crush enough boiled candies to fill your window hole with enough crushed candies to be level with the dough. Bake as normal but leave on the cookie sheet until cooled, then carefully peel away. Maybe next year your house could be smaller? Sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate…..

    • My gingerbread house is one of my proudest holiday accomplishments! It does take a lot of time, but I try to make each year’s slightly crazier than the year before, even though I do get busier every year. And I’m secretly hoping for something less practical as a Christmas present from Aaron 🙂

  6. Totally relate to everything you wrote – nowhere near as excited about Edinburgh as I should be. I also wanted to run a fast 10km to become seeded for the Two Oceans half at the end of March…but looks like if I haven’t run a 1hr 2min 10k by the mid/end of Jan then I am gonna have to admit defeat on that one and just start training for Edinburgh. Its getting very hot here…and almost impossible to run unless its like 5am or 9pm. Shouldn’t complain about summer I know, but….

    Anyways enjoy xmas and good luck with the gingerbread house.

    • I complained all summer, so I understand! And you still have time to hit that 10-K goal. You never know! Funny how much less exciting the 2nd marathon is. At least your race should be a scenic/nice one!

  7. Solid analysis; good luck with it all as you ramp up for Boston. One of the best parts about living in CA is hearing other people’s stories of training in cold weather, without being able to relate in any way (though I have run with temps in the 40s here a few times, does that count?).

    Appreciate the poignant thoughts about Emilie. Watching the slideshow memorial to the victims… that was brutal. We had to reassure our 7-year-old niece, who overheard some adults talking about Newtown, that the man who did this “would never hurt anyone ever again.” I hope I never have to see another slideshow like that one.

    • It’s actually kind of crazy…for maybe two decades we’ve had really mild winters. Only over the last couple of years have we had consistently colder temperatures (and much warmer temps during the summer). I think the cold in California was harder for me to handle because it was “wet.”

      It has been very hard to watch the memorials. I really hand it to the media for making an effort to personalize each victim. They haven’t been the nameless numbers that many victims of mass killings are, and I think that is why so many people are having such an emotional connection to this particular tragedy.

  8. I also complained about how we had an endless summer and it was so stinkin’ hot. Now that some mornings it’s been below freezing, I don’t care that winter hasn’t officially started yet, I’m ready for it to be over! You are brave for running outside in such cold weather with no long tights!

    • Hey, Californians don’t get to complain about the weather! But I’m the same way. We have maybe two months a year of perfect running weather, and the rest of the time I’m bound to complain!

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