Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It's time to taper!

Since my really bad 20 miler a few weeks ago, I've had some great runs. My 22 miler, went very well. I started at 3:30 am, to run 2 miles on my own. Then, I met up with my Chicago girls, to run 10 miles. I had to be back at Fit2Run before 6am, to meet the training group. We kept a nice brisk pace, getting me back in time to meet the group. I had about 10 minutes of standing around, talking to members of the group, before I headed out with them. The rest of the run went well. I ran a little slower than the first 12, mostly because I was running at paces set by various members of the group. This was fine, I was still staying in my overall pace that I wanted to keep. I ran a little with a few different people, checked in with others, when I saw them out there. I ended up finishing the 22 miles faster than I had run the 20 2 weeks before!

Last Saturday, I had my longest run for this training session. 24 miles. My Chicago girls started out early with me, at 3:45am! We wanted to get in 12 miles, before getting back to the store just before 6am. Once again, I was going to need to go out with the training group. In order to get back in time, we needed to keep a 10 min mile pace. We headed south, towards Siesta Key. Before the turn around, Gina was falling back and once we turned around and headed back, she had fallen even further behind. I really wish I could have stayed back with her, she had done the same for me during my 18 miler, but, I had a work commitment, and needed to get back to the store before 6 to lead the training group! I felt really bad, but there wasn't anything I could do! We got stopped by the draw bridge for a couple of minutes, but still managed to keep a pace at just under 10 min miles, to get back to the store in time. The chicago group headed out, while I waited for the training group to gather and then we were off.

I started off slow with them, even though I was itching to pull ahead. I did get ahead a couple of times, but stopped, to wait for some of them to catch up. Most of the group split up into singles. Everyone seems to have a slightly different pace. I ran a bit with Roxy, and then with Edith. I pulled ahead to get to the turn around spot for the people running 9 miles. Waited there for a few minutes to check on runners and then direct others to turn around, before heading back. Added in a mile in the Golden Gate neighborhood, where a couple of other runners where adding in distance, then added in the last bit I needed, along the water front, towards Selby Gardens. Edith was having issues, not feeling well, so I got her to head back. Ran into Gina, who wasn't having a very good run and was on her own. Thankfully, there were only a few people that didn't have good runs today. Most everyone did great, even though it was pretty humid out. I had an awesome run. Finished my 24 miles in 4:02! I felt great for most of the run. Started to tighten up a bit towards the end, but that is good for me. Usually that happens around mile 20-21.

I feel like I am in really good shape this year. My training has gone well, so I am optimistic about having a great race in Chicago. Now, I just have to deal with taper madness. Starting to cut back on the miles will seem great at first, but I know I will start to feel a bit crazy from not getting the long miles in!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Chicago marathon training

Nike Chicago

Last spring, I entered the lottery for the Chicago Marathon. I was so excited when my training buddies and I, got selected. Even though the race is in early October, It didn't cross my mind that my marathon training for this summer was going to be different than previous summers. The last few years, I've run Fall marathons, but they've been in early November, or later. This is a full month earlier!

For most people, this might not matter. In other parts of the country, running in the summer, is the best time to run. In Florida, it is the worst time to run. August and September tend to be the hottest months of the year!

All through June and July, my training was going great. In early August, I had an 18 miler, that was slower than I wanted, but overall, not to bad considering the heat. Then, two weeks later, the dreaded 20 miler was on the schedule. As soon as we started running, at 4:30 am, I knew it was going to be a rough one. My stomach was a little upset. There was absolutely no breeze. And it was HOT! Around 80 degrees. I felt like I was breathing in my exhaled breath. Just nasty. We ran south for 4 miles, then back to the car. I tried a peanut butter hammer gel. My first time trying it. I had hopped it would be similar to the Gu peanut butter, but it was far from similar. It was really gross! I drank a bunch of water, then ate one of my extra nutrition products.
We then headed north, over the Ringling Bridge, towards Ken Tompson park. All I could think about, was the bathroom at the bait shop, that I knew would be open. I had needed to go for a while! By the time we got there, we were about 11 miles into our 20 miler. It all went down hill for me here. I ran for a bit, but then needed to stop and walk. I felt dizzy and over heated. Gina stopped to walk with me and ended up staying with me for the rest of the run. We headed out towards Lido beach. Once there, we stopped to get more water, and then started heading back. I had to walk a lot on the way back. I felt really bad about holding Gina back from her run, but she was stead fast in not wanting to leave me on my own. All I cared about at this point, was getting the miles in, even if I wasn't running them. I was so happy when I was done! But, I felt really down. I questioned my time goals for Chicago. I questioned my training for the rest of the days leading to the race.

Monday night (two days later), I headed out with my training group. I decided to try and push the pace, to help me get out of my funk. I ended up having a great run! The next morning. I stared my 9 miler, thinking I would take it easy, since I ran hard the night before. I ended up having an awesome run. Running faster and faster with each mile! This past week has been a great week of training. My spirits are lifted. I feel like I've been doing something right with my training.

This weekend, I've got a 22 miler scheduled for Saturday. I'm trying not to worry, to have faith in my training. but I've got to admit, I'm a little worried! The heat is back, after a nice little break this past weekend.

All I can do, is try my best. And know, that even if the run turns out to be not so great, my overall training will provide a solid base, for my marathon goal! It also helps to think of CJ, who is one of my inspirations, while running. CJ is a strong  little 8-year-old, who has Cerebral Palsy. He is a fighter and so am I!