Friday, January 30, 2009

They come in 3s.....

You know, bad things. Though I guess now it's more than three....Here I am two days away from my first marathon, and several things area going wrong.

1) I am sick..sort of. I have felt the beginnings of a cold all week. Aches, sore throat, my ears hurt, I have been taking zinc, vitamin C drops, multivitamins, and hydrating. Fingers crossed..

2) close your ears, men- 90% likely I will be having 'female issues' during the marathon. Great.

3) my garmin broke. Yesterday. Won't do anything...won't turn on, make a sound, nothing.

And those were only the first three really bad things. I have some twinges in one of my knees and one of my feet. My new shoes aren't working out, and the old ones are completely worn ankles have killed my last couple of runs in them. And now the weather, which has reported a low of 40, high of 60 all week has changed to 55/67 with a 30% chance of rain.

AAAAHHH! Why are the running gods against me? Though I suppose the bright side is that it's my first one, so it doesn't really matter how I do. It would be far worse if this was my 10th or 11th and I was more competitive and going for time. Then all of this would really really suck.

But it still sucks!! :( I really wanted everything to go right. But I will keep my hopes up for a fun experience. Hopefully my garmin magically resurrects itself, and I can deal with feeling a little off as long as it doesn't get worse. Just please please please don't rain!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Ok, so I have most things set and ready to go for marathon morning. I have to pick up some gels and new socks on Saturday, but that's pretty much it. Last night I sat down and got rid of all the songs on my ipod that I always skip while running. Here is what was left:

Womanizer- Britney Spears, Whine Up- Kat Deluna, When I Grow Up- Pussy Cat Dolls, Whatever You Like- T. I., What Them Girls Like- Ludacris, What's My Age Again- Blink 182, Welcome To The Jungle- Guns n Roses, The Way I Are- Timberland, Waiting For My Ruca- Sublime, Umbrella- Rhianna, Touch My Body- Mariah Carey, That Was a Crazy Game of Poker- Of a Revolution, Temperature- Sean Paul, Sweetest Girl- Wyclef, Sugar, We're Going Down- Fallout Boy, Stronger- Kanye West, SOS- Rhianna, Somebody Told Me- The Killers, Sober- Pink, Smack My Bitch Up- The Prodigy, Shut Up and Let Me Go- Ting Tings, Shake It- Metro Station, Shake- Ying Yang Twins, Roots in Stereo- P. O. D., Pump It- Black Eyed Peas, Perfect Exceeder- Mason, Paper Planes- M.I.A., Mr. Brightside- The Killers, Move This- Technotronic, Me Gustas Tu- Manu Chao, Lose Yourself- Eminem, Lollipop- Three 6 Mafia, Live Your Life- T. I., Leavin'- Jesse McCartney, King of the Bongo- Manu Chao, Just Dance- Lady Ga Ga, Independent- Little Boosie, In the Ayer- Flo-Rida, I See You Baby- Groove Amanda, I Need a Dime- Mike Jones, Head Sprung- LL Cool J, Gold Digger- Kanye West, Glamorous- Fergie, Gimme More- Britney Spears, Get Up-Technotronic, Get It Together- Beastie Boys, Free Fallin'- Tom Petty, Fat Lip- Sum 41, Everlong- Foo Fighters, EI- Nelly, East Coast Anthem- Good Charlotte, Disturbia- Rhianna, Dirt Off My Shoulder- Jay Z, Debaser- Pixies, Clumsy- Fergie, Click My Fingers- Erupt, Clandestino- Manu Chao, Circus- Britney Spears, Carinosa- Jandy Feliz, Can I Get A.. - Jay Z, Bust It Baby- Plies, Breathe- Prodigy, The Anthem- Good Charlotte.

So there it is- 4 hours and 40 minutes (don't want to give myself TOO much time! :) of music. A very strange list, I know. (I also know my music tastes tend toward those of a 15 year old rather than someone who's almost 32, but what are you gonna do?). Somehow even with my editing I have a few that I'm a little tired of and could replace. Anyone have any faves right now that I should consider adding in?

Monday, January 26, 2009

starting to get nervous....6 days!! strange to have something you have been waiting for for 6 months finally almost be here! 6 more days til the marathon...hoping the weather is good and that it doesn't rain! I plan on wearing this shirt, which is my absolute fave right now...the Brooks Equilibrium short sleeve:

It is so comfortable. I am going to wear Moving Comfort running capris, my other fave. I think I have decided to stick with the old shoes. I have done two 5 mile runs in the new ones, and honestly, I just don't think they are working for me! :( I feel like I will never find perfect shoes. I have now wasted hundreds of dollars in the last year, and the only ones that have sort of worked were the Asics Gel Nimbus 9s. Why, you may wonder did I not buy new Asics? Well these ones were never perfect either, and I wanted to get something that fit better. I swear I hate when you can't buy the pair you try on! I truly think different colors of the same model sometimes fit different too! I tried on the Mizuno Wave Riders from the Mizuno Running Lab, but couldn't buy the demo pair. I had to order a pair, and it came in pink (I tried on teal) and just doesn't fit the same :( It feels like I am running with a lump under each arch and my heal...they feel too supportive and stiff, and I think they have made my knee hurt. Could just be overuse, but either way, I am sticking with the worn out Asics for the marathon and will figure out what to do after that.

I am really excited about Sunday though! I just want to enjoy it and have it be a good day. I am plagued by race day troubles....all my training runs will go great, with no forethought, poor sleep/eating, whatever...then when I try to plan it all goes to sh*t. I just hope I can relax and not stress out over it! How do you all fall asleep? I know this will be my biggest problem. I am 100% positive I will sleep about two hours. And I know the night before is what really matters, but still! Race starts at 7, and we will be in a hotel three blocks away, so I plan to wait at the hotel as long as possible. (Bathroom and all). Figure we will get up at 4:45 or so in order to eat a couple of hours before the start. I planned on having two packs of oatmeal. This is what I had before my 21 mile run, and it seemed to work. Then maybe a banana an hour before? I didn't try that, but I felt a little empty at the beginning of my last long run...I know everyone recommends eating 2 hours ahead, but I feel like I burn through that before starting to run! I am bringing 5 gels, and might grab whatever else they have available. I am trying to find Nuun around here, because I think it would work for me since it doesn't have sugar...otherwise I will bring my Crystal Light Electrolyte packs. I am going to use the fuel belt, but with only one bottle. It started to hurt my back on the 21 mile run because all three bottles were pretty much constantly full. With plenty of opportunity to refill I think I'll just bring one. But then I can dump a few cups in and drink when I want, rather than only at the aid stations. I really hope I can hold it the whole time and not have to stop at a Port-o-let...but I have a bladder the size of a walnut so that's not likely :(

All in all I am just excited it's finally here and am glad my parents will be there to see it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Any last minute suggestions? 10 days!!!

So the marathon is in 10 days and I am so nervous!! I know I can finish it, it will just be up in the air as to how I will do. Initially, when my training was right on track I actually had hopes of finishing under 4 hours. (I know- this is ambitious for a first marathon, but my back in November I was on track for it!).

Anyhow- things have changed. After running only four days in December (hush! I know!) I have had to adjust any time goals I had to goals. Well, that's not entirely true; I would like to hit 4:20, but I think 4:30 is probably more realistic. Either way, I am just aiming to finish upright and happy, and I will take it all as lessons learned for next time.

So I know you shouldn't make any last minute changes, but out of curiosity does anyone have any last minute tips? There were only two things I was thinking of changing... 1) I have never worn a hat while running, but thought it might conserve heat in the morning (if marathon day is similar to today it might only be 30 degrees!) and wick heat away as it gets warmer....also I got sunburned on my 21 mile run because it was so sunny! Doesn't seem like a huge change, but I'm worried about being too hot...thoughts? And 2) and this is a big one- I am thinking of wearing pretty new shoes. I got fitted last week for some Mizunos by their mobile running lab, but the local store here that they were at didn't have my size. I have been running in Asics Gel Nimbus 9s, but they are dead. My ankles and knees have been killing me. Of course because they didn't have my size and had to order them they won't be in until this Friday, most likely. That would give me three runs to try them out 8 miler, a 3 miler and a 2 miler. Is that too few miles to give them a try in the marathon? I know everyone always says don't use new shoes, and you need to break them in and all that, but every running shoe professional I've ever spoken to has said that is a myth and that shoes, if properly fitting, should not need 'breaking in'. So what do you think? I am leaning towards one last run in the Asics, but the Mizunos were just so comfortable!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

21 miles...

Finally! My last long run. I did it. 21.51 miles. (Though actually I only ran the first 21, and even walked .5 of that...). Either way, taper here I come! It's disheartening that I only have two weeks instead of three, but I still think it was best for me to get that last long run in.

I headed out at noon (not smart in LA! It was 68 degrees in the shade in my backyard). I was immediately worried about the heat, and the first 8 miles were directly into the sun. But I stayed on top of hydration like a machine (3 oz every mile) and it seemed to work. I used Crystal Light Hydration, because I think the root of my stomach upset is sugar. The gels with sugar bother me, Gatorade and Powerade, and Red yay! I've finally figured out what makes me wanna puke! So the CL Hydration has the electrolytes but not the sugar. I know, I know, artificial sweeteners probably aren't any better, but they don't make me feel bad. I drank that at miles 1,2,3,4, then water with a gel at mile 5 (5 oz with gel, then 3 oz at mile 6), CLH at miles 7,8, then water with gel at 9, rest of water 10, and repeat on the way home. I eventually wasn't able to get it all down (the temp dropped 12 degrees during the near 4 hours this run took), but I think aiming for 64 oz total for the marathon is realistic. How much do you all drink? That would be 8 bottles on my fuel belt, about what I had yesterday (though I only drank 7). But it was way hotter yesterday than marathon day will be (fingers crossed!) so I think I can stretch it 5 more miles...I felt a little water logged yesterday by the end. Anyway, here's how it went:
1) 10:29
2) 10:27
3) 10:47
4) 12:18 * stopped to refill one empty bottle and top off the half full one
5) 10:59 * took a gel
7) 11:10
8) 10:55
9) 14:09 * stopped again to refill bottles, use the rest room, took a gel
10) 10:57
11) 10:52
13) 12:11 *refilled for last time, took a gel
14) 10:42
15) 10:32
16) 10:20
17) 11:43 *walked 16.3-16.6, took at gel at end of mile
18) 10:35
19) 10:33
20) 10:50 * walked .2
21) 10:08
= 3:52:34

So it was ok. I did it. It wasn't the best, but oh well! I would have liked to have hit 21 miles at 3:30, but maybe in the marathon! One thing I learned...I need gels with caffeine! If you look at the splits, the miles get slower from 1-4, then I took a gel, but it was an e-gel. It didn't bother my stomach, but had no caffeine. The boost of energy I normally feel wasn't there. The miles continued slowly until mile 9, where I took a gel with caffeine. You can see the miles get faster consecutively each time after I took a gel at miles 9, 13 and 17. It's really bizarre! And mile 21 was actually my fastest.

I definitely see the merit in starting slow now. Even though each mile was slower than I would have liked, I find it interesting that I really WAS able to get faster in the end miles. And I definitely felt like I could have gone 5 more, which mentally will be good for me on the day of the marathon. So there it is....I am done my long runs! I am running 5, 4, 5 on Wed, Thurs, Fri respectively, then 8 Sunday, then 3, 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday, then two rest days, then 2 the day before, then marathon! I can't believe it's almost here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Marathon Fuel

So in trying to plan as best I can for the upcoming marathon my biggest concern seems to be fuel. I have the endurance- my speed is NEVER regulated by my legs, but always by my stomach. When I get off pace and slow down it's always because I feel like I'm about to barf. This never happens until after I have started drinking and/or taking gels. So what to do?

My dad (a former fairly successful half marathoner) advises that all this gel/sports bean/shot block/gatorade nonsense is foolish, and that science has shown all you need is water, just don't drink more than you're using, figure out your sweat rate and all that. While I agree to a certain extent, I can FEEL the difference when I use gels (caffeine and all) but if it makes me slow down in the end due to stomach upset is it worth it?

So I looked at several gel comparisons yesterday, and I think now I am more confused! (FYI- before anyone suggests anything solid, that is out...I cannot chew while running). So what is making my stomach it the sugar, the caffeine or the sodium? And since Gatorade makes me want to puke even more, shouldn't I stick to higher sodium gels (like Power Bar Gel)? I am a 'salty sweater' and think I do need electrolyte replacement....So what to do?

1) I am limited to what they have at my local running store. My last long run is Monday, and I'm not trying anything new during the marathon, so my last chance to practice is Monday (meaning no time to order anything off the internet).
2) I have been using Power Bar Gels more than Gu, but could it possibly be the higher sugar causing stomach upset? And if I switch to Gu, where do I get the electrolytes from?
3) I like Gu Roctane, but it isn't recommended to take for every gel, but rather that you should alternate...
4) has anyone tried E-gels? Like them better/worse than Gu/Gu Roctane/PowerBar Gels?
5) caffeine- worth the possible stomach upset? I think so....
6) Just go with water/ Gatorade? Maybe I could handle the Gatorade without the gels?
7) I do NOT like Cliff Shots. Not sure why, but tried once and made me feel even worse...

So you see my dilemma. It is very frustrating being limited by digestion issues rather than muscle power or respiration!

What has worked for you?

Monday, January 12, 2009


So I actually did it people. I got off my lazy ass and did my first long run in a month! Yesterday I did 18.6. I ran this distance because it happens to be 30k, also the distance of The Wall, the race I skipped last Sunday because it was 80 degrees out. Yeah- after not running for three weeks the last thing I wanted was to collapse from heat stroke! So I put it off a week, and will be shortening my taper from 3 to 2 weeks. Trust me- for me at this point it is way more important to get in at least two long runs even at the loss of a week of rest.

So yeah. Put it off a week and I'm glad I did. It gave me a fresh start to try to do everything RIGHT for once. I took all of the mistakes I had made before previous long runs/races and tried to fix them in this last week. Here are some of the things I changed/incorporated:

1) no alcohol- I enjoy my beer and wine, but for this last week I cut it out (mostly...might have cheated once)
2) 60-70% carb diet- I generally eat A LOT of roughage, but tried to up the carbs and cut down some of the super fibrous stuff. I eliminated dairy and other fats in the two days preceding too.
3) sleep- I stayed home from work last Monday and Tuesday and slept about 12 hours each day. Wednesday and Thursday night were my usual 6, but then I got 8 Friday and Saturday, which is a first for the two days before a long run or race.
4) running- I went twice last week, 8 mile tempo on Wednesday, and 5 easy miles on Friday.
5) stretching/rolling- I actually did it for once! I stretched Saturday and Sunday before I went for several minutes, and used a rolling pin on my legs (I don't have The Stick). It really seemed to help!
6) Advil- I know this is controversial, but I had been having a lot of aches in my legs and it seemed to help. I took it Saturday night and Sunday before I left.
7) icing- I iced after my 8 miles Wednesday, and then Friday and Saturday night. I also took my first ice bath afterwards....Yikes! That was really cold, but it's just go numb and get used to it.
8) water- I actually used the fuel belt. It helped, but I still have stomach issues with eating and drinking during running. I always feel fine until I start drinking/ having gels...
9) gels- I used three. Two Power Gels which I like because I think the electrolytes are a little higher and I have discovered I can't tolerate Gatorade during a run. Then for the third I had a Gu Roctane, which I am convinced really DO help decrease post-run soreness.
10) breakfast- I had oatmeal (the norm) and also a banana about an hour and fifteen minutes before. I had coffee (no cream this time) too.
11) hydration- during the week I always keep up on water, but Saturdays I usually forget. This time I remembered and had plenty of water all day.
12) the actual run- I tried to go slow and steady and I found that I really did have more energy in the end....I think I kept pretty good pace the whole time (more on this in a sec).
13) replacement- during the ice bath I had water and chicken noodle soup. I have read that it is particularly useful as replacement fuel because it replaces salt and has a good protein/carb ratio for replacing muscle glycogen and easing soreness. Either way it was good to have something hot while sitting in 55 degree water!
14) massage- I did self massage the couple of days before, and got my husband to give me a good leg massage with bengay last night.
15) weather- I know this is beyond our control, but it did help that the high yesterday was only 56 or something. And it was overcast my whole run. Fingers crossed that marathon day is the same!

And today I feel pretty good! My left achilles is sore, but that's it. So I did 18.6 in 3 hours and 16 minutes. Normally this would disappoint me, but given the last month I was pretty happy with it! I did stop at mile four to use the restroom and refill the one bottle I drank up to that point. I also chatted for a minute with an older gentleman who was asking me questions about how far I was running, why, etc. So in all the stop cost me three minutes. I then ran until I hit that spot on the way back (at 14 miles) at which point I stopped and walked about .4 miles to eat the last gel. I still have so much trouble with gels/stomach upset. This didn't happen with the last is it that walking while I got it down really helped, or that I have more toleration for Gu products than the Power Gels? I might have to switch to some other Gu flavors for the first couple next week and see if it's better. So anyway, I continued running and only stopped again at 17.5 to walk about .2 to stretch out my hamstrings which were getting tight. Then I ran the rest and finished at 18.6.

The one downfall of the run was that I forgot to check and be sure the Garmin was locked onto the charger. My cats hit it askew all the time and it drives me nuts! It will be sitting on the charger, but not connected, so to speak, and when I turn it on it immediately says battery low. And I hate the Garmin for the one fact that it takes FOREVER to charge. I can throw my cell on the charger for 20 minutes and the charge is complete. The Garmin takes hours. So I charged it a quick 15 minutes and figured I'd see how long it lasted. I was worried, because I know my route til about the 6 mile turn around, but I had to go 9 before the turn, so I hoped it would last. (The last .6 is a loop in my neighborhood). Luckily the Garmin lasted to 12.2, so I knew when to turn, but it was a bummer in terms of my splits. The 12.2 took 2 hours and 6 minutes, so a 10:22 average pace. Again, slower than I would have liked, but I found I can maintain it because the last 6.4 took an hour and ten minutes (deduced from the fact that the whole run took 3:16) which is what, like a 10:55 pace? So not THAT much slower in the end, which can pretty much be explained by my walking .6. So I think all the running was probably pretty close to 10:20. I had orignally hoped to average about 9:30 for my marathon pace, but given the last month I would be happy with 10 even, which at this point I think might be doable.

So anyway, all went well and now I have only one more long run...YAY! I plan to run 5 Wednesday, 8 Thursday and 5 Friday. Today and tomorrow I am doing some pilates and stretching. Saturday and Sunday I will mostly rest, but want to do some squats and core stuff. May be too little too late, but I figure a little strength training will at least make me FEEL more confident, even if it actually doesn't help me physically. I do still have three weeks, and alot can be done for your core in that amount of time if you stick with it, just a little a day. Then next Monday I have my last long run of 21 miles. I wanted to go over 20 because mentally I worry about the dreaded 'Wall' which supposedly hits at that point. I feel if I just go a little over I can figure out how that will affect me, or, hopefully, find that it doesn't. This will also help me because 5 miles is my typical 'short run' so if I run 21 I will know that come marathon day I only have to do that plus a 'short run', so mentally it will seem a lot more doable. Make sense? Any last minute tips?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Back...(sort of?)

Well, I am back from vacation. From work and from running. I unfortunately have sabotaged any high hopes I had for the marathon, and am now hoping to just finish.

After 15 weeks of really structured training, Thanksgiving hit and I just fell apart. Not that the busy holiday season should be an excuse, but coupled with a friend's graduation and wedding shower (out of state) and heading back to New England for Christmas things just didn't happen. I did have a half marathon on December 6th, and a 25k on December14th, but neither of those went as well as planned and it all stemmed from missing my first long run the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Looking at my running log I am very sad to see that since my December 14 25k I have run exactly 3 times. :( Here is what happened....I had that race on a Sunday. I took off Monday and Tuesday, and planned to run Wednesday but ended up home sick. Thursday I left for Florida (friend's shower and graduation), and planned to run 17 that Friday. Weeellll.....she is my best friend and we of course caught up until 3 in the morning Thursday night....and had a few needless to say it didn't happen. Then her graduation was Saturday, her wedding shower Sunday, and I flew back Monday (after going to bed at 1 and getting up at 5). So I didn't run Monday December 22. Then Tuesday I was busy packing, wrapping gifts and getting ready to head home on Christmas Eve. I thought I could run that morning, but was up late the night before and had to head to the airport early in case of fog on the bridge (a real annoyance to me...when we get warm weather after it has been cold the warm air hits the cold water = fog and the bridge closes to one lane and 35 mph...(from 65)'s a 23 mile bridge so a huge pain). After several delays we get home at 7 Christmas Eve. No running. No running on Christmas either, or the four days following. I have no excuses for that other than not wanting to run in the cold...I did nothing but sit on my butt for a week. We headed back on the 29th, and I finally forced myself to get in 5 miles on the 31st. It was much harder than I would have expected. New Year's Day was a waste for me. I did 8 miles on the 2nd, but about 10 minutes slower than I had been running my 8 mile route! I then worked the 3rd all day. I had a 30k I was registered for on Sunday, but with the potential for fog and the possibility of having to then get up at 5 coupled with the heat (70 in the morning!) and humidity I skipped my first race :( I thought I'd get it in at home on my own, but then I was too depressed about skipping it. Monday and Tuesday of this week I was sick (again!!), but I finally got in 8 yesterday (only about 3 minutes slower than usual).

So that brings me to now. Looking back it just doesn't seem possible that I have only run three times in three weeks, but what can I do? I am of course disappointed, because I was hoping to do well in the marathon. Luckily I don't really have time to dwell on it! So here is the new plan: I did 8 yesterday, and will do core and strength today, 5 tomorrow and get in that 18 on Sunday. It will probably kill me, but oh well. Then I will get in 5, 8, 5 next week, with a little strength and core if I can force myself. My last long run was supposed to be this sunday, but at this point I think it is more important for me to get one more in so I will do 20 on the 19th (off for MLKJR day) and have a two week taper. Later that week I will run 5, 4, 5. Then next week 8, 3, 2, then two days rest, then 2 the day before, then marathon!

Any suggestions/alterations?