Nineteen and Feeling Groovy

19 miles, 3 hours and 47 minutes, average pace 11:49 with two major traffic light stops and a visit to Peachie's for more water. Maybe my goal of a sub 5 is not that unattainable.

More later…. off to Recovery land.

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

Tomorrow I will run seventeen miles.

What’s crazier than actually running seventeen miles, is that I’m not all that worried about it. I know that I’ll be able to do it and I have a plan.

My goal for tomorrow is to run slowly and easily for the first ten miles. Instead of focusing on the time below the beveled face of the Garmin, I’m going to watch my blinking heart rate, so that I can accurately monitor my exertion.

This has been a plan a few times before, but as endorphins begin to fool me into believing I am stronger and faster than I am, I speed up too early making my remaining miles feel endless.

No, I am sticking to the plan. Ten easy miles.

At ten point one I will Gu, and then speed up a bit.

I’ve been pretty consistent when it comes to hitting hills, but tomorrow I’m gifting myself with a flatter course; throwing myself a little bone.

Around North Raleigh I will go, literally, since the hills are in the center. I will probably finish my audiobook, so the last miles will be motivated by music and the long hot epsom salt bath I will soak my aching bones in soon after I return.

I must be certain to eat properly first, before schlepping my legs up the stairs to get clean.

Last week’s fifteen made me so endorphin high (happy and eager to share) that I immediately sat down to write. I was coated in sweat, as if I’d been dipped in the Red Sea, and completely dry by the time I was finished. I neglected to feed my body, instead choosing to feed my mind, and believe that I suffered from the choice later when recovery had begun. My legs felt detached from my torso, like I was hauling around a pair of tree trunks out of proportion with the rest of me. The exhaustion of the task was incomparable to any tired feeling I’ve known before.

Speaking of fuel, I’m going to make an extra effort to eat mindfully today. I have enough kale and beets left for an afternoon juicing. Last night’s spaghetti and sauce (cooked with carrots and shallots, celery and garlic) will be a great choice for tonight’s dinner. At the grocery store this afternoon, I will steer clear of the cookie bin, but buy more garlic and apples and ginger. I need to use more ginger.

Stay tuned. Send good vibes. Pray for an easy time and pleasant weather. I’ll be surely thinking of you all, whose precious time spent reading this is so appreciated and who have added a priceless aspect to my motivation and training.


Two Plus Ten Plus Three

I’ve just returned from my first fifteen miler. It was a beautifully cold morning, the temperature only reaching thirty-five (even an hour later), as I sit here to type.

I bundled properly with my thick Target base layer, my trusty black Define Jacket, with a Lululemon wind breaking vest over top. My LLL Dash Tights have become my long run pant of choice, but due to the cold, I layered them with a pair of Speed Shorts and Running Skirts knee-high compression socks. Not a fan of running commando, I tested out my new hot pink Under Armour boy short underpants. The only part of me that was not layered was the space between my thighs and my knees.

Yesterday I signed up for, which is a site that charges a monthly fee for audiobooks. How happy I was to download The Hunger Games for a mere seven dollars. How happy I was that this book, like my last choice, is the story of a heroine. Girl power. My favorite kind.

I was tempted to name this post The Pee Pee Games, since my effort to hydrate this morning left me with a bladder that was full and uncomfortable after a mile. As I saw it, I had three options; find a bush, pee in my pants, or run back home. It was too cold to drop trou and if I peed my pants it would probably feel warm and nice for a second, but surely freeze within minutes making for an unhappy remaining thirteen miles. As I circled home, clearly the best option, I was lucky that the monsters were upstairs. I snuck in quiet as a mouse.

I literally had to peel off my pants to pee and my skin was both frozen and burning. The sting only lasted for a minute before I stopped worrying about it and focused on the warmth of the heat being pushed through the vent in the bathroom floor.

Pants pulled up, I was back on the road in one minute.

The next ten miles I spent transfixed by The Hunger Games and was reminded me what I love about books; story telling, picture painting, suspense, character development, all conjured through words. I love words. I love stringing them together and seeing what results. I think I’d like to meet the author of this adventure. I think I’d like her in real life.

My goal to run negative splits was like a dark cloud over my shoulder. I started slowly enough, but as happens around seven miles, I started feeling really strong and so I sped up more than I should. I told myself, “I can keep up the 12 point something pace,” but as I’d hit hills or a stomach cramp, would realize that I should have held back until a little later in the game.

The stomach cramps. I had three. They were more like bubbles that appeared out of nowhere and only subsided when I’d stop short, bend forward, watch my shoes for a few seconds and breathe. Maybe chinese noodles for dinner don’t really count as good carb loading before a big run?

My last three miles were happy ones. I was almost finished and my route home was familiar. I wanted to finish strong and I pushed so hard on my last half mile that my heart was beating out of my chest.

“Come on Martha! You can do this Martha! Negative splits! Negative splits! Finish strong Martha!” I was chanting to myself under my breath. Somehow repeating my name pushed me on. Miraculously, I finished my last mile a block away from home where I took a picture of the Garmin.

I can’t even imagine what I’ll be saying to myself as I near 26.2.

There may be no words, but there will certainly be tears.

Fifteen miles, 3 1/2 hours, average pace @ 14

Mind Games

Yesterday my daughters wore their pretty red dresses (despite the early morning tantrums about them not being pink) and performed in the pre-school Christmas show. I was teary-eyed watching them stomp their feet on the way to Bethlehem and singing about the baby they were going to see. Hands in the air, “Jesus!”

Last year I arrived a minute before the show, because I took too long running, getting showered and ready. My mother was not pleased and the face of disappointment that met me in the pew left no doubt about it. Mother’s have a supreme power and that was the proof.  It lasts far longer than the age of 18 and can make this 40-year-old want to be sent to her room.

In order to ensure that I got there early this year, I decided my final short run of the week would have to be two miles, instead of the planned three.  I haven’t run that short in ages, and in the rush to get back and go through the routine of hair drying, makeup applying, and clothes picking, I probably ran faster than I should have.

When I returned home, I quickly plugged in the USB port to attach the Garmin and pulled up Garmin Connect. Analyzing my runs is proving to be a useful tool. It was obvious that I was running harder than normal, based on my numbers…

Average moving pace: 11:47, Best pace 8:42

Average heart rate 153BPM, Max heart rate 183BPM

I read in Runner’s World that the whole point of the long run is to prepare the legs for, “Running long.” Running too fast is like racing, and defeats the intended purpose. My attempts at running more slowly during the higher mileage outings is affecting my pride and becoming the downfall of my long runs.  It’s become more of a mind game than a running game. Whenever I see my pace slow to what it should be (closer to a 15 minute mile), my ego gets a bruising.  My pride can’t take it and mind games aren’t nice.

I’m eagerly waiting for Brian to wake up so that I can hit the road and get some of this resolved. I am determined to keep my heart rate steady on today’s 13 miler. It will be difficult to see my pace (and my shadow) running so sluggishly, but I’m curious to know if the last three miles of this long run will feel different.

He’s up.

I’m off.

Wish me luck.

Running Dilemma’s

This morning I ran a tough 7 1/2 miles at an 11.3 (minute per mile) pace. It was too fast for me and I knew it. I had been running 25-27 miles per week before life got in the way of the plan (funny how life does that with most plans), and I haven’t been able to get the mileage higher than that. Today I got worried. 26.2 is over three times farther than I went today. It spoke to my biggest fears about the race, “What if I don’t make it all the way and have to quit?” I don’t like to go there.

I do like to write after a run, but today I had to back away and figure some stuff out.

I picked the girls up from school, went to Target (oh, the monotony of Mommyland), and came home with still unanswered questions. Here they are:

  1. Since today felt long and hard, should Sunday be an easy run? Is that a cop out? Am I being a wuss?
  2. Should I stick with my plan to run long on Sunday, maybe 10-11 miles, and try to go more slowly?
  3. Do I need to go and get a Garmin? Would it make life easier or give me more to worry about?
  4. Am I sore today because I didn’t take a rest day after yesterday’s rain run, and before that it had been a week?
  5. Do I need to add ice baths to the routine?  I’m such a baby and have avoided them for years.
 As I look at the list, I realize I have most of the answers.
  1. Yes, it’s a cop out. Some days are harder than others. Yes, I am being a wuss. Buck up, butterup!
  2. Yes, I will run long on Sunday, and I will most definitely slow down.
  3. Yes, I’m getting a Garmin. Even if it doesn’t make life easier, at least I’ll know that I tried it.
  4. Yes, I am sore because I ran a lot in two days after a week off. Again, Buck up, sister! Rest tomorrow!
  5. The dreaded ice bath, probably a good idea, but I still don’t like it.

Amazing how that worked out.