Last Long Run, yesssss!

I haven’t run a marathon in 3 years.  This doesn’t sound like long, but it feels like forever–I used to try to run a marathon every other year & could sort of remember my training/experience for the previous race.  But this year my brain is blank–I can’t remember how I ever trained before, other than usually feeling I didn’t do as much training as people (including me) were telling me to do.  I don’t remember what the race feels like–other than there are ups and downs (literally, mentally, physically, etc), the start and finish lines are amazing places to be, and at some point I usually go a little crazy (throwing away my mp3 player, shouting out songs, lots of high fives to randoms in the crowds, eating anything people are offering (beer, jollyranchers, etc).

My training was so on and off these past 6 months–I was coming down from a great ending to my triathlon season, so I wasn’t pushing myself too much with the running (why did I think a good idea during the OFF season would be running a marathon?).  I ran a half marathon, tried to build on my long runs, injured the achilles, recovered, and tried to add more milage without injuring myself.  And here I am.  The race is three weeks away.  How did that happen?

So today ended up being my longest run at 17 miles.  Usually people recommend 20, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen without me getting re-injured–so I was happy to spend the past 3 weeks steadily adding miles without overloading myself.  Today was definitely not easy, but I felt healthy & strong to the end.  It was mostly a mental battle–the course I designed today left me with opportunities during the last 6 miles or so to short cut my way through if I wanted.  And man did I want to.  Seriously, the biggest battle I faced out there was trying not to veer off my previously mapped course & just head for 7-11.  Luckily, this will not be an option during the marathon!

My next two weeks are “taper” weeks–sweeet, my favorite part of training.  It involves some pretty steady 6 miles run but nothing over 10 miles til race day.  My legs will thank me for that.  I haven’t decided how to pace myself on race day.  I’m not trying to set a record for myself or anything, finishing in 4:30 would be fine with me.  I think I’ll start slow & try to pick it up a little every 6 miles depending on how I feel.  I can’t wait for my parents to be there in the crowd!

The Olympics end today, which is a bummer–but at least means I’ll be getting to bed at a decent time this week.  My schedule at work lightens up this week and next, so it will be nice not having to rush around Mon-Thurs–and my trainer is out of town for the next week or so.  He’s texting me workouts, but I of course cheat & do less.  Hey, it’s taper time!

In nutrition news, I’ve been slowly progressing with improving my eating habits.  Things I’m good at: eating at least 6 times a day.  I really love to eat.  It pains me when people say “I forgot to eat lunch.”  or “I don’t have time to eat.”  Really?  Really?!?  You are missing out.  I’ve also been eating less processed foods.  I eliminated my love of Lean cuisine pizzas & anything frozen like that.  I’ve brought my lunch to work everyday.  I’m eating more veggies.  Have I lost any weight?  Eh, nothing really that I can notice–but it’s not exactly the point.  I know when I’m a really great healthy eater I will probably be a little lighter–but making slllloooowwww progress right now, I don’t really expect much.  It’s sort of like when I first started running–my run times improved drastically for the first few years.  Now it takes huge amounts of effort to cut my 5k time by seconds.  So it’s all a balance of finding what really works for me when it comes to eating.  I will never completely give up fun things like a cookie, margarita, chips, etc–I become to hostile :).  But I am willing to make them more of a special occasion rather than my daily diet.

OK!  Thank you February for being so short.  I love March–daylight savings time!!!  Enjoy your Sunday.  Are you watching hockey right now?  I’m not.

Olympics and such

I have not always been a fool for the Olympics.  I remember watching as a kid–especially the figure skating and gymnastics, but I don’t think I’ve watched any of it the past ten years.  I really got into Beijing, though–part of it was *wow, they do triathlons and marathons, like me!*, part of it was Phelps, but most of it is just immersing yourself in this two week fest of personal stories & high stakes competition.

I’m not AS into the winter Olympics…the coverage isn’t as great, and I can’t relate to the events in the same way.  But man, there are still some great stories (and Shaun White!).  I’m totally inspired by these  athletes, especially ones that are just happy to be there competing.  In another life, I could’ve been a 7 yr old learning skills on the half pipe that 10 years later translate to Olympic level ability–but for now, I just take the inspiration & use it to help my own training.  On my afternoon bike ride today (which of course was going to be a morning bike ride–the entire day got away from me), I imagined I was competing in some world class event.  Scott Hamilton was of course providing my commentary.  Why is that crazy bird lady throwing bread on the Olympic course guys?  Let’s take care of that.  Yes, I won the gold.

So that’s what I’ve been doing with my free time this past week (and next, I imagine).  Both watching and pretending I’m in the Olympics.  It’s a tough life.  No, I have not been on any dates recently.  Too busy polishing my gold.  I’ll be back at it next week.

Some potentially cool career-type stuff going on, which is much-needed.  I’ve realized the most important thing with me and work is that I’m constantly challenging myself to be my absolute best…when that is missing, my work is not completely satisfying.  So it’s about finding those next challenges/opportunities again.  I’m so ready.

The marathon is a month away, and I have no idea if I’ll be ready–but as of now, it’s still a go.  I’m more excited about having my parents in town, though.  Hooray!!!  There are a couple more really long runs coming up (one tomorrow), but as long as those go well–I’ll feel fine going into it.

That’s it–really not much going on here!  Have a great weekend.

Warm Weather= BBQtime

Well, quite a difference–last weekend we were snowed in & this weekend we are enjoying temps in the 80s…LOVE it.  Me and the roomies broke out the grill & had a late lunch feast, reminding me of how much I’ve missed the outdoor cooking.  Of course, it’s still just February–so I know the weather is probably not here to stay–but I’m having fun wearing flip flops instead of those darn boots.

Also, it is a 3 day weekend!  I needed one!   I’ve got some work and non-work business to take care of, so the extra day really helps (though I do plan to spend some much needed time at the beach tomorrow).  Chuck made some Valentine’s cookies–that’s about as Valentines as I get.  Good cookie, too.

In the coolest news, I am able to add mileage little by little to my long run–and today I hit 11 miles with no aches/pains.  Hooray!  Of course, part of me thinks “I should be running a 20 miler by now”–but I’m happy for any additional pain-free mileage I can get.  I was thinking about doing the Pasadena Half-Marathon next weekend–but it’s also a marathon, which means it’s expensive, crowded, and kind of a hassle just to get my miles in.  So, I’ll save money & create a new route for myself next weekend.  My big push is the next two weeks (13 and 16 miles) & if those go OK, I’ll just hope for the best on marathon day.  It’s great for my triathlon, though, because my distance-building is already done (on the run anyway).

I’m watching the Olympics on and off.  I don’t like it as much as the Summer Olympics, but I can get sucked into any of those events.  I just really admire the athletes that have put so much of their lives into just making it to this event.  And my friend Wayne’s cousin Tommy Ford is on the USA ski team.  Go Tommy!

That’s it from this end.  It’s great to feel all exhausted from a long run again–taking it slowly is smart, but it also doesn’t give you the same feeling of accomplishment is really putting in the miles.  Nap time!!!

Big Bear, Feeling Tired…

Happy Tuesday night!

It’s almost time for me to head to bed, but I passed out briefly after I made it home from work–so of course I’m not feeling as tired as I should…which will catch up to me tomorrow at 6…a vicious cycle.  Not really, I can handle it.

I finally made it out to Big Bear this past weekend & I loved the wintery escape.  It was all snowy and crazy weather, which made for wonderful snowboarding.  The first couple of times down the mountain I was very wobbly–but the last couple of runs it started to click.  I swear, next time around I’m going snowboarding for 3 days in a row, so I can actually be decent at it.  It is such a rush when you’re not falling every three seconds.  I also like the crowd at these places.  I even had a burger, fries, and beer for lunch–OMG! At least I didn’t resort to that crazy looking chili-cheese bowl.  I figured I burned all the calories on the slopes (and snow shoveling my car out of the driveway the next day).

It was good to forget about the marathon/triathlon training stuff for a weekend & just move my body in new ways.  It helps me to remember it’s not ALL about the next race or “season”–hey, a year ago I didn’t even know there was a “season” to racing.  For me, it’s about being outdoors & being active.  That’s key–the rest is added bonus.

So, back to trying out a longer run this weekend–so far, no achilles issues in the past 3 weeks or so.  I’m still running the marathon unless the achilles acts up again.  My parents are coming into town, so I’m thinking if I can’t do the marathon–there is a short triathlon in Pasadena the day before.  Maybe I’ll just switch events & still have the parents cheer me on!  But so far, I’m still aiming for the marathon.  Definitely the easiest training schedule I’ve ever had (will find out on race day how good/bad of an idea that is!).

In other areas of life–well, it’s the process of getting unstuck that is taking longer than I’d like.  I’ve been lucky enough through my life to have very few moments without opportunity and constant forward momentum (though there have definitely been those moments–especially in L.A.–where I thought “really?  this is what I’m doing with my life”–you know, delivering frozen meals & such).  But at the same time–nothing ever seems to fall in my lap, and I like it that way.  I like to work for things.  What is the next big thing?  Well, I will tell you when something actually clicks into place.  For now, know that I’m spending many of my evenings working for this to happen.  The other evenings, I’m probably watching Bravo or MTV.

Anyway, so sometimes I thrive off of activity & sometimes it just makes me want to sleep.  Right now, I’m sleepy.  I hate teaching days where people schedule things for you to do every second you’re not teaching (as if you don’t need a breather when you have a moment away from the students).  Teaching, teaching, meeting (shoveling food in), teaching, being interviewed about how much I love my job (seriously, do not do this kind of interview at the end of the day!!!) & go home! (or to Party City to get some masks for tomorrow’s project).  In a way it’s great because the day flies, but also this is how I fall behind on everything else in my life and at work…it is all just a blur.

But speaking of tired, it’s amazing how being tired from work & being tired from working out are two completely different things.  If I can convince myself I’m not THAT tired & make it to my evening workout, I usually surprise myself with how much energy I have left.  Today was my day off working out–but last night was at the gym & I had some really awesome moments.  I love when I’m pushed about as far as I can go–that’s the sign of a good gym workout to me.  Anything less seems pointless.  So I’m doing ridiculous “cleans” (what am i, a bodybuilder) with the bar & I think I can literally not get the bar up one more time…I have to try twice & can’t do it–but finally I get the strength & it feels awesome…the same thing with my front squats.  I faltered on one but recovered nicely to finish it off.  I used to make fun of weightlifters, but I get it now–it seems odd, but it connects so much to endurance sports…the mental aspect of it is just as important as the physical.

But man, I’m sore right now.  My neck doesn’t seem to want to move.  So, yes, feeling tired.  And it’s a 10 hour work day tomorrow.  Did I mention I’m ready for a change?

Have a great week & a Happy Valentine’s Day!