Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Odds and Ends, Again

I am LOVING my training right now. I am nearly three weeks in and will be taking a rest week soon, and so far everything feels really good. I am enjoying my long runs and comfortably fear my intense ones, and am in love with my swims. The swims are what is making this possible, the tiredness and aches just lift after a good swim. I can feel such a difference that I am scaling back rowing and will stick mostly to swimming --- in fact, I will do whatever I can to make sure I get these recovery swims in. What I won't do this time around is try to seriously increase my swim times or speeds... I think last time I hurt some of my runs by trying to do too much with swimming. But the pool closes earlier for lap swim than it did three years ago, so I can't do so much even if I wanted to.

However, chlorine + allergy season = fountain of snot and sneezing and itching. I finally had to break down today and pick something up at the drugstore to be able to keep working. So now I'm just snuffling a bit... and just the least bit spacey... hmmm...

I broke down and finally got a running vest and I am so glad I did.

AK Race Vest
Badass, yes?

I've never liked the feel (or look) of hip belts, and with my shoulder still misbehaving I knew I couldn't go with a handheld. (Plus that's not enough for these long summer runs.) And I will be running in to work on occasion and was tired of my makeshift running pack, a child's backpack I tried to secure with safety pins but always slid all over anyway.

This pack is a dream. I did swap out the water bottles shown here with some smaller curved ones from my hip pack, and will probably get some larger curved ones for use on longer runs (so they curve over my breasts instead of mashing them). And at the end of my ten miles yesterday I did notice that my neck and shoulders were starting to feel tense. But otherwise I barely felt it at all. I also liked that I didn't have to adjust my arm swing to avoid the bottles, another disadvantage of the hip belt. I also look a lot cooler.

The whole weight loss challenge is out the window already. First I had some bad news a couple of weeks ago and chose to comfort myself with modest amounts of chocolate and beer... but that led into Mothers' Day weekend and full license to enjoy, oh, whatever. And then I started having longer runs. Now, one thing I've learned since my last go-around with the marathon is that long runs truly are easier when you fuel up and hydrate well in the day(s) beforehand. Not overeating, of course, that would not have the desired effect, but just being mindful of the need to be well fueled. Which is really not compatible with a weight loss "challenge". Without stepping on a scale I can tell that I am getting trimmer, and I feel lighter on my feet, but I've already hit the point in my training this year where everything is focused towards supporting my workouts.

In answer to an earlier question, I don't create a meal plan for myself, per se. But at this point I know what works well for me before a long run (and after) and what really doesn't, and I do plan accordingly. (I tend to plan out my meals the day before anyway, except for weekends, and even then I strive for a good mix of fruits/veggies/protein/carbs.)

The piece I'm still struggling with is during long runs. I don't like the sensation of eating while I'm working out, even gels or chews, and so I know I sometimes frequently fall short of taking in enough while on the road. Thanks to Erin at See Mom Run Far I have now ordered sample packs of Tailwind Nutrition and I'll see how that goes. Crossing my fingers...

I have cute stories about my kids that I wanted to share, and some photos, but this has gone on long enough already...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Let The Training Begin!

Well, marathon training started this week for me. It's a long training period (23 weeks), but there will be a significant break at the end of June / beginning of July as I taper for the Chicago Women's Half, recover, and then travel to see The Dude's family. The rough outline of my weeks won't look much different than at any other time of year --- long run / cross-training / easy run or rest / intense run / cross-training / easy run or rest --- but those long runs will get longer and the intense runs (tempo or speedwork) will as well. I'll have to spend more time on recovery - more yoga! - and try even harder to get as much sleep as possible. Eating well goes without saying.

This month, in fact, eating well (and not that much) is the priority. I'm doing a weight-loss challenge with my online running group and I've set it up so it will be a challenge. I'd like to be a bit lighter during this marathon season (lighter = faster, within reason), but if I'm going to lose anything it's got to be before I get into serious mileage. I know from ugly experience that I cannot try to lose weight and seriously train at the same time. Luckily, I'm already feeling lighter and springier a week in, so regardless of the actual numbers at the end of the month I should feel like a winner and in good shape for the season.

I'm so excited to be starting!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Just One More Update (Plus Photo)

I went for a run this morning, and ended up running the street where I stopped during Sunday's race.

Let me tell you, that is a boring stretch of road. Parking lots and strip malls. I have more sympathy for my mental state on that street now.

I don't think I've ever run a stretch so unattractive (during a race). Most of my races are on the lakefront or through parks or neighborhoods, or some combination of them all. That shows me I need more practice in how to deal with boredom in race situations. Especially since there are stretches like that during the marathon, and even more so in the Chicago Half Marathon which I'm wanting to race next year.

How do you deal with boredom during a race?

About mile 2? Not the ugly part. Clearly I'm still enjoying myself here.