>My first trail "run", and Marathon Training: Week 7

>This week has been strange. I’ve really been missing Aaron. We haven’t been able to talk on Skype or on Facebook chat, just the phone. Every couple minutes we lose the call. So incredibly frustrating. And after having three days off last week, it was challenging to get back into working eight hours a day with my friend at school. I had something to do every evening this week, which is almost always the case, but it was exhausting.

This morning I got up around 7 and left the house by 8:10-8:15 for the trail run at Wildlife Prairie Park. I parked and got my packet, which included a CITRA (Central Illinois Trail Running Alliance) hat and a couple of gift certificates to a chiropractor’s office. Gabriela didn’t run today because she’s been sick. 😦 Not sure she would have wanted to listen to my attitude though! πŸ˜‰

They sang the national anthem and with the gun we were off. The first third of a mile or so was on a paved service road. Then we turned onto the Flood Plain Trail. They had said we’d be running in ankle deep snow. Try twelve inches of snow, not the least bit packed down. Most of us ended up hiking it.

It was rough. My attitude was horrible. I was looking forward to racing this thing, and here I was doing 18-20 minute miles out in the middle of nowhere. Whine, whine, whine, I know. But srsly.

The last probably half mile was decent to run, so I ran it and finished in about 1:09:10. Not sure on the seconds. According to my Polar watch, I burned 840 calories, and my heart rate hit 185 as a max but for the average was 161. Not bad if you ask me for a cross-training workout.

Mainly what I thought about the whole time since I purposely didn’t take music with me, was “If I get injured because of this I will be so mad!”

So anyway. Here’s what my training looks like from this week:


Monday: 4 mi, 9:13 pace (my fastest yet!!)
Tuesday: 7 mi, 10:31 pace
Wednesday: cross-training since I forgot some of my very important running gear (read: a specific undergarment!)
Thursday: 3 mi, 11:09 pace (got my tush outta bed at 4:50 and went before work)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 3.7 mi, 18:35 pace
Sunday: 12.37 mi, 11:25 pace… can’t seem to shake that darn 11 when running a long distance like that. I was also trying to not douse myself in yucky melted snow and dodging cars. The sky was so blue and it was warm-ish out (45 for Illinois in February is a heat wave!). I wore long pants, a cami, a long sleeve tech shirt and an ear band. The wind was at 15 MPH, so I knew my ears would probably get cold. And the ear band helps keep my headphones in (Aaron accidentally packed my iPod ones and they’re now 6000 miles away). My Nike+ iPod thing kept screwing up, but I think I got the mileage right. I’m so glad I went and got ‘er dun.. I feel a lot better physically and emotionally.

So, I pride myself on having nice feet. I looooove sandals and being barefoot. But I got my first big blister… ever… from running so darn much. And it was a water blister. Hopefully my toenails don’t fall off; I’ve heard of that happening to long distance runners. I like to keep them really short, so I hope that doesn’t happen!

Calories burned for the week according to sparkpeople.com: 4800!! and 30 miles!

And a good thing too since I ate a lot.

I’d say I had a pretty successful week of training. My apartment is a mess, but my head is mostly clear. I’ll take it.

Oh, here’s a map of the trail we ran.

>Marathon Training: Week 6

>I really shouldn’t kid myself – weeks 4 and 5 were nonexistent. Ah well. I jumped back on the running train anyway.

Monday: 3 mi at the gym. Yuck.
Tuesday: thought about the gym and didn’t do yoga even though I said I would.
Wednesday: actually wanted to workout, but dug my car out of 15″ of snow instead. Burned around 300 cals.
Thursday: 6 mi at the gym; so proud of myself. There was a TV in front of me, but I hate watching TV while running. So I kind of ran to the right side of the treadmill so I could people watch. But there weren’t that many people there so they probably just thought I was a creepy stalker. But hey! got my six miles in.
Friday: rest; my body was not happy with me as I sat around for the better part of three days and then ran
Saturday: 10 mi run with Gabi. Got ‘er dun before 9:30. Sleeping in on Saturdays is overrated, I say. It was a good solid training run.
Sunday: I’m supposed to cross-train. I’m thinking yoga to stretch out these already-sore muscles, pushups (still girly ones) and abs. Do you know how much I hate ab workouts? Because I do. They always remind me of gym class in junior high and Mr. Norman yelling at us, specifically those of us who were not athletic. In my mind I think he was just ticked at me because I was tall and not using it for basketball, or my long legs for track. πŸ˜‰

I was supposed to have included another three-mile run, but I think 19 miles for one week following a two-week hiatus (and I hadn’t run a long distance for a month!) isn’t too shabby. Next Saturday we run the Winter Wildlife Trail Run, and that’s a 6K. I’m slightly nervous as I’ve never run a trail race before.

I’ve been successful in tracking my food and exercise this week on sparkpeople.com. As I’ve said before, I’m a huge number-cruncher, so I love analyzing the breakdown of nutrition. I also went grocery shopping at Aldi and Kroger (two different places, and with a list.. oh my!) and got yummy food to make. And I paid cash. Annnd got a few cute Valentine’s decorations for the apartment.

Oh! Forgot to add that I ran the last three miles without music, unexpectedly. For some reason my Nike+ thing decided to stop playing music but kept the mileage going. I didn’t want to mess with the mileage so I just took off my headphones. It was eye-opening, er, ear-opening. I could hear all the cars coming (I usually run with one headphone out anyway) and the birds, and I concentrated on my breathing. I also had some sentimental thoughts about running, but I’ll save that for another time. I know you’re bummed, but you’ll get over it.

Okay! So, now that I’m done talking your ear off (if you made it this far without putting virtual duct tape over my virtual mouth), I’m gonna enjoy the rest of my coffee and chill out today. I think Smallville, knitting, napping and talking to the husband are in order. Β‘Chau!

>Kiss and fly: Departure.

>Raw emotions can be treasures that bring tears. I’ve forgotten how fresh this separation can feel after almost three weeks together. It makes me smile and makes me cry. The first few days always suck the most, especially the first few hours.

Surprisingly, I was awake and coherent enough at 4:30 this morning to drive Aaron to the airport, O’Hare to be exact. I missed the exit for I-190 and had to turn around, but we made it with plenty of time to spare. (And I still have a few tolls to pay.. whoops.) I kept it together long enough to kiss him and send him on his way back to Korea. Fortunately I actually know this time when and in what country I will see him next. Nothing was worse back in June than to not know how long it’d be.

Memories can feel both like dreams and like life is happening right there before you all over again. I just took a much-needed nap and I’m already dreaming about the man. Not surprising, though, considering what a catch he is.

I felt the need to blog in order to capture these exact emotions and thoughts, whether coherent or not. Already I’m looking back at the early morning when I dropped him off at the recruiter’s office so he could start this whole journey, beginning with Basic Training. That was such a strange morning. Things happened perfectly so that he’d be leaving on the last day of my “spring break” (at my last school we had only a five-day weekend for break).

And after the first few text messages and phone calls to let me know that he made tape and everything, there was no communication for about ten days. How in the world did I do it? After I dropped him off I went to Walmart, got groceries and had the furniture rearranged by eight o’clock. Then I went back to teaching the next day.

Someday, years down the road, maybe only months, I will look back at these 26 months and wonder how I did it. How we did it. Strangely, I forget that it’s a we. It’s no secret that I’ve felt left behind. And while his adventures in the Army can be new and exciting (notice I said can be, haha), I know he wants nothing more than to have me there with him. But in his words when I asked him how he felt about it, he said, “It’s just something we have to do.”

We are hoping to get stationed in Ft. Carson, Colorado, Ft. Lewis, Washington or Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. Huachuca is what our hearts are set on. But truthfully, as long as we’re together it really doesn’t matter. I’ve heard that a soldier coming off an unaccompanied tour is supposed to be able to choose his/her next duty station. But we’ll see. It’s the Army. And we both hope and pray he doesn’t get assigned to a unit that deploys shortly after we move in late June/early July.

You thought I forgot about posting about my marathon training. I did train the third week, all except for the three-miler on that Thursday. It looked like this:
Monday: nothing
Tuesday: 3 mi
Wednesday: 5.67
Thursday: nada
Friday: zip
Saturday: 6
Sunday: zilch

Weeks Four and Five were nonexistent, unless you count going places every evening to have dinner with someone. I did weigh myself at my grandparents’ on the 20th and it said I’d only gained three pounds. My jeans still fit, so I consider that a good sign.

I’m ready to get back into it. Eh, correction: I need to get back to running. Not only am I starting at a marathon in twelve weeks (how did THAT happen?! last I checked it was six months away!) but also at a trail race on February 12 and the Shamrock Shuffle on April 10. Then there’s of course my sanity saved by this insane act of torture. It’s my lifeline.

Here’s how my schedule looks. If I break up the time and stay crazy busy, the time will go faster:

January is almost over!!
February: trail run on the 12th, which is also my dad’s 50th birthday. Our niece Lena’s birthday is the 21st. And there are only 28 days.
March: always a long month as we wait for spring and more importantly spring break. The last week is my break.
April: Shamrock Shuffle on the 10th, my birthday on the 22nd (maybe Michelle, my cousin’s wife, and I should have a joint party? We’re counting by fives this year :)), and the marathon on the 30th.
May: Race for the Cure on the 7th. Last day of student attendance without snow days is May 18. I believe last day for teachers is the 20th.
June: Aaron’s done in Korea. We move (or maybe early July). And dear God, let it really happen this time. Kthxbai.

Here’s a daily breakdown:
Monday: rest day for running; every other is our Daniel study by Beth Moore, which takes us into June, I think.
Tuesday: run after work
Wednesday: run after work, most likely small group
Thursday: run after work (hmm, see a pattern?), teaching piano and worship practice
Friday: rest day for running
Saturday: loooooong runs, most likely. If not Saturdays, then Sundays.
Sunday: church, cross-training, every other is the college/young adult group at Petr and Gabi’s

And one last blurb before I post this insanely long entry. I am so blessed to have my aide job. I am loving having no lesson plans and hardly any stress with parents. This job fell into my lap. The Lord knows what we need when we need it. And the best part is that our budget from when I was teaching full-time is still intact as I’m bringing home the same amount of bacon.

So. In conclusion, other than being separated, life for us is really good right now. The IRS will make it even better soon when we get a sizable tax return to replenish our savings. (We hope it’s a decent return, anyway.)

Now, I’m going to bake cookies with Katie and Lena. Be jealous. I know you are.

>Marathon Training: Week 2

>Monday: rest (did cross-training today: 10 min elliptical, 15 min bike, tricep dips, pushups on my knees, and crunches)
Tuesday: 3 mi run (intervals) (did 3 mi in 29:15, avg pace 9:45 – slowest pace was 11:32/mi, fastest was 7:30/mi)
Wednesday: 5 mi run (tempo) (did 5 mi in 53 min: 1 mi warm, 3 @ 10:00 pace, 1 mi cool)
Thursday: 3 mi run (easy) (3 in 35.. I don’t think my HR topped 150-155.. very easy)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 9 mi (rested this day too since it was COLD!)
Sunday: cross (11.1 miles in 2 hrs, 8 min, avg pace of 11:32.. that’s right on the dot! Listened to music and finished listening to Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore. Beautiful winter day today.)

TOTAL MILEAGE: 22.1 miles, my highest ever I believe.

So there’s Week 2 at the Novice 2 level. All my runs this week are just specified as “run”, and not “pace” or whatever. But I think in the interest of improving my pace overall, I will make one three-miler a workout for intervals, and then one an easy run. The mid-week run will be a tempo run (1-mi warm up, 3-mi at a given pace, 1-mi cooldown). The pace for the tempo will be anywhere from 9:43-10:08, according to the McMillan running calculator.

The training schedule in itself might change a little as we go along due to life circumstances.. and also due to the fact that Gabi and I got a head start on marathon training with our 8, 10 and 12-mi runs.

Can you all tell that I love to crunch numbers? I loved math in school, and went as far as calculus in high school and then took Calculus 2 at Bradley. I couldn’t remember it now for the life of me, but I still love math.

Posting all this publicly keeps me accountable! Watch for updates as the week goes on!

Goals:
-Eat a lot of protein! (I’ve heard as much as 1g/1lb body weight… that’s a lot!)
-Be able to wear compression shorts on race day (marathon) and rock them!

>Marathon Training: Week 1

>I think I’m going to post what my schedule says, and then update later with what I really did. I will also continue to track my total mileage.

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3 mi run (Actually did this on Sunday)
Wednesday: 5 mi pace (Did 4.57 mi)
Thursday: 3 mi run
Friday: rest (Did 3.02 mi)
Saturday: 8 mi (Did 8.02 mi)
Sunday: cross

“Run” means at an easy pace (~10:15/mi doesn’t stress me out too much)
“Pace” means at race pace for the marathon (~10:42/mi)
“Cross” means cross-training, which is absolutely essential. It allows your body to recover by using different muscles and also prevents injury.

On my long runs I should focus just on going the distance.

I will add strength training too, especially for the core.

I’m following Hal Hidgon’s Novice 2 Marathon Training.

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Forgive me for having this ridiculous obsession with blogging about running. I guess if ya don’t like it, don’t read it. πŸ˜‰

Today I slept until about 10:15, having gone to sleep at 2 AM after talking to my love on the phone. I got up, made breakfast, made fresh orange juice with the juicer… oh my goodness… AMAZING. I did some dishes and whatnot and then got dressed to go outside for this run.

I wore a t-shirt, long-sleeve running shirt, and my fleece jacket on top… running tights and yoga pants on bottom. One pair of socks, my new Asics and I skipped the running belt and iPod armband as I had zip-up pockets on my jacket. I took a gel and Chapstick with me, put on gloves and an earband.

I almost wish I had had a face mask… it was very windy. There were gusts up to 27 MPH, according to The Weather Channel. However, I wonder if it’d make me too warm. If it hadn’t been windy, the fleece jacket would have been too much.

I ran part of my normal route down University with some exploring in the residential neighborhoods nearby. It was a beautiful day.. it’s cloudy now but it was sunny and we had blue skies. All the snow melted with the warm temps so it was dry. There wasn’t much traffic, either.

About mile five I ate the gel. I liked the consistency and the taste (Jet Blackberry, GU brand). I don’t know if it was mental or physical but I had a great last three miles. My muscles had limbered up and I had held back enough at the beginning to conserve energy. It was exhilarating.

My Nike+ app on my iPod tells me when I have 400m, 300m, etc left. After I hit the 8-mile mark I slowed down to a brisk walk. I ran the rent over to the office to walk it out some more, then came home and made a protein shake with banana, vanilla soy/whey protein powder, a packet of that effervescent vitamin supplement, ice and light vanilla soy milk. I haven’t even drank it all a couple hours later… it was rich!

I stretched really well and took a hot shower. I know I will inevitably be a little sore tomorrow but I still plan on doing some cross-training on Monday and then take tomorrow as my rest day. 

I have been so pleased with my motivation to get out there and pound the pavement this week. I was really going to start my training next week on Week 2 since Gabi and I had a good head start. I think I will still stick with the Novice 2 training schedule, but on short run days I’ll do interval and hill training.

I also want to be able to do real pushups by the end of this training. I basically plan on getting in the absolute best shape of my life over the next seventeen weeks. So watch out! πŸ˜‰

My sister-in-law Katie and I are running another race together, with a couple of her friends, on April 10 in Chicago.. the Shamrock Shuffle. It’s an 8K, or 4.97 miles, and it’s perfect since it’s during my tapering for the marathon. I’m really excited to see how we both progress over the next few months.

>Winter running at its finest [or coldest]

>This morning I woke up at 6AM with a little help from the alarm. Since starting my new job, I’ve been able to get on a decent schedule fast. I’ve been going to sleep around 10:30-11 and getting up at 5:45-6. I had all my running gear laid out last night.

With the forecast being about 13* at 7AM, this is what I wore: two pairs of socks, medium-weight running tights (which I put a hole into this morning.. need new ones. Darn.), pair of stretchy-type workout pants, short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, stretchy-type jacket. I also had gloves and an earband. (And, I have to say that Under Armour undergarments rock!)

I also had my iPod armband, my running belt (which Aaron bought for me.. sweet), my reflective vest, and Nike+ iPod chip for my shoe. I decided to go without my belt and vest since the sun was up and we were doing only ten miles.

We started out in Gabriela’s neighborhood and took a different route through East Peoria. Honestly, my muscles didn’t seem to warm up until mile 5. At mile 2.5-3 I was taking off my gloves because my hands were roasting. But my layers were perfect. I wasn’t hot or cold. Just right.

We climbed up a hill that we descended down with ease. It took me about half a mile to recoup from that. As much as I was to stop after we crest the top, I say to myself, “Recovery, recovery, recovery.”

The sun rising above the dormant fields and yards covered with snow was beautiful. We passed quite a few gorgeous houses with many cars in the driveway and for a second I was jealous of those people just waking up, getting coffee and enjoying the morning.

The experience of running outside will never ever compare to running in the stale air on the treadmill. I did four miles the other night, and it felt like 15. It was horrible. I would rather trudge through the slush and traffic of Peoria on a Saturday afternoon than run at the gym.

I know it seems absolutely nuts to run in such cold weather. But really, you warm up fast. You train your lungs to breathe the cold air. You train your muscles to not only run a decent pace, but to run through the cold, and sometimes even when they’re numb. Like I said, it took me about five miles to get a pace going. Then I’m focused and in step with my body. My good pace this morning was 9:55-10:10 per mile.

We finished 10.25 miles in 1:47, so an overall pace of about 10:30. Not bad. We’re gonna be kicking butt when the weather warms up and we can run in “normal” conditions.

I am really motivated to kick butt on this upcoming marathon from watching Ada on the Biggest Loser Season 10. She was determined to beat the girls’ record on the marathon of 4:56 and she ran a 4:38! Heck, if she can do it after only three months of training, I can do that after six months of training!

Two things I’m looking forward to:
1) Longer hours of sunlight so I can go running again after work.
2) Warmer temps so my dad and I can go riding again

I’m already thinking about what I want to do after the marathon. I would like to do a sprint triathlon (0.6-mi swim, 12.4-mi bike ride, 3.1-mi run [I think there can be other distances too]), or try P90X. I just know that I have to have a goal in mind otherwise I’ll let myself get lazy. It would also be nice to run a few races with my husband.

It’s possible that I will lose more weight throughout training, so I’ve adjusted my weight goals accordingly on sparkpeople.com. According to the BMI scale, I could lose twenty more pounds and still be in the healthy range. I definitely don’t want to lose that much more though! I promise that I am eating. I LOVE food. But since I have more lean muscle mass, my body metabolizes food like crazy. Some days I’m hungry constantly. Today will be one of those days since I burned around 1100 calories! I also need to make sure I’m doing enough strength training because I don’t want to lose muscle mass. I read that women typically lose about 22% of their muscle mass when they do a weight loss program.

Looking back at the past year, 2010 has been my most successful year yet, even moreso than the year I graduated from college and got married. I’ve become more comfortable in my skin, stronger, leaner, healthier, more confident with living alone. I’ve met all my running goals except for one – run a half marathon. But I am able to run at least twelve miles.

I found a calculator that can kind of predict my time for the marathon based on my current fitness level. Here’s a snip of my predicted times for different distances:

It’s pretty darn accurate for my 10M. Like I said, I felt my best pace was right around 9:55 or so. Looking forward to my progress in 2011. My mileage goal will be I think between 700-900 miles.

>Almost 300 miles

>I can’t believe I’ve run almost 300 miles this year. I started tracking just to get an idea of my progress. That amounts to almost a mile a day. I’ve run 16.91 miles just this week, 12 of them yesterday with Gabriela.

Our long run yesterday was just through Peoria.. but it had snowed a couple inches the night before, and it continued a little bit yesterday. We were debating whether to go or not, but decided to. We were running sometimes on the sidewalk, but mostly on the road against the traffic. I wore my reflective vest, which was helpful when it started getting dark.

We had a good amount of hills, I’d say. We also had to stop quite a few times for stoplights. But we made it. The last three miles were on Grandview Drive after it was already dark. I thought by that point we’d really lost our minds, but then we saw another fellow runner! In my excitement I yelled, “Yeah!” and gave her a thumbs up.

My iPod had not been charged, so I couldn’t use the Nike+ iPod app. But I survived with music on my phone. I’m convinced I could have done it without the music. The cold wasn’t too penetrating since it wasn’t windy and we were wearing lots of layers.

As we rounded the final corner of Glen and Prospect where we started, I couldn’t believe we’d made it that far. That was almost a half marathon in under two hours, with stops! We survived.

I’ve learned so far that training for a marathon requires a few things (I’m sure my list will grow as time gets nearer):

1) An awesome running partner. It’s not only safer to run with someone, but then you have that camaraderie of being crazy together and also it helps you keep your pace. Pick someone you get along with well. πŸ˜‰ (Love you Gabi!)

2) Versatility in spirit. You have to be willing to run in the rain, snow, dark, light, with or without music, with or without a headache. You can’t just not go because you have a side ache. You work through it and then crossing the “finish line” is even sweeter. I think running is 80% mental, 20% physical. Your body is stronger than you think.

3) Time. Our run yesterday took two hours. You have to set aside plenty of time during the week for your maintenance runs, cross-training and then the long run. We try to do ours on the weekends since it works best for us.

So there’s the beginning of our marathon training in a nutshell. Despite my knees and leg muscles being a little sore, and feeling like I have a slight hangover (headache from lack of fluids), I feel pretty good. Today I can just enjoy the view.