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.