In my teens

With a little over three months away training is getting pretty serious. No longer are the “baby” runs that do not require multiple water stops, GU and prayers to anyone who is listening to help you get to the end. And with the Florida summer in full swing, if you don’t start in the middle of the night to beat the sun and heat you will be turned into dust mid stride. Yesterday was 15 miles. That’s a half marathon and then some….and ultra half if you will. (My running friends will get that corny joke).  I wasn’t nervous at all about this run, probably because 14 was absolute misery and I now had something to prove. With these long runs getting into mileage I’ve never done before, not stressing over it makes a world of difference. So as the alarm is taunting me to get out of bed at 3:30am, I begrudgingly got ready for my longest run ever. (Get used me to saying that until the marathon is over!) Fueled by a trusty Snickers and a pack of sports jelly beans (they were weird but I kind of liked them) it was time to start. It was humid but not as agonizing as it’s been lately. I kept my pace slow and steady, time really isn’t something I care about anymore. The run was split into three legs. The first two, each 5 miles, were the same going back to the car each time for water. It was nice and dark and quiet so I just zoned out and put my legs on cruise control. I’ve been wearing a knee brace for added support and overall I was feeling pretty good. Some walking here and there but nothing that would make me feel like this run wasn’t a success. The third leg was the final stretch and now with the sun starting to light up the world, I see a local 5k getting ready on the trail. Oh boy here we go…do I join in?…Do I laugh at all those people running 3 silly miles?….Do they think I am dying by the way I look?? I had a little trouble focusing as people whizzed by me. While they all look fresh and energetic with smiles on their faces, I am running my last 2 miles and I am starting to fade. But I can’t stop now. The end is near. Miraculously I kept an 11min/mi pace and as soon as my watch beeped at 15 I was overjoyed. With the adjustments in food during the week (trying to cut back on the simple carbs and getting more fruits and veggies), in the GUs I’m eating during the run and the twice weekly gym workouts I think I might be in a good spot. This week’s routine will be more of the same with a 16 mile run Saturday. Hopefully I will keep you updated…in the meantime I leave you with my breakfast….

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Lucky 13

Saturday was my birthday. How did I celebrate it you ask? I ran 13 miles. Marathon training doesn’t stop for a birthday. So well before the break of dawn the alarm went off as I painfully dragged my now year older self out of bed, laced up, choked down breakfast and got out of the door for the birthday half marathon fest. What a way to celebrate. I didn’t sleep well to begin with, but starting at 4:30am I was able to beat the heat. My legs were super heavy as I tried to keep a steady and rather slow pace. The first 5 miles were at the neighborhood across the street, then the next two back in my hood before stopping for a water, refueling break. It actually hurt me a bit to stop but I needed more water and gel to continue. I knew that the second half of this run was going to need a lot of mental power. Though I was more than halfway done I was exhausted, drenched in sweat and starving for something other than goo that comes in a packet. Boy did I want a burger. Miles 8-10 were tough. It was hard to get back into a groove. By 10 though my knee started to bother me. Currently I am in the mindset of ‘train smart and do not get hurt.’ So I walked a good part of the next mile to give me knee a rest. By now I am 3 gels in, a ton of water and the “finish line” is near but still so far away. The sun started to rise and I knew the temperature was about to be hot enough to bake a birthday cake. 11-12 were still slow but I made it through the neighborhood and time to finish the last mile at home. I hate that last mile and it hates me. I kept checking my Garmin, each ten seconds felt like an eternity. Finally with a quarter mile left I somehow found the energy to sprint home. 13 miles done and done. Definitely not my best run however I did it. I went straight into the pool….yes in my running clothes and it was heaven! Looking back at it, it wasn’t all that bad, it was good mental training and I didn’t feel as beat up as my first half marathon when I could barely even sit down on a toilet without wanting to scream. I am happy where I am at and though super nervous, ready to try to conquer 14 on Friday. Never ran that far before, time to hit some uncharted territories and see what I am really capable of. Until then time to celebrate my birthday! Another year where it really is easier said than run.

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Worst…blogger…ever

It’s not you, it’s me. You have done nothing wrong; I have commitment issues. Give me another chance? I will change I promise!

Well it’s obviously been a while but I have been running the entire time. It’s been hard since the Echo half marathon in June. I took that race a bit too personally and got a little discouraged while fighting a few minor injuries and some good ole fashioned “mental-ness.” But I realized this past weekend that marathon training as actually begun. Maybe I was expecting some fanfare, a momentous beginning that signaled the beginning. Nothing…and there is no turning back now. Runs are getting longer though the heat and humidity is at full Florida force. I’ve been struggling with that mental edge that is needed to actually complete this. That has always been a hurdle for me. Stupid brain! I wish it would stop fighting me at every sweaty step. But it does. I am taking each run with opportunity to learn though. There is no such thing as “just a run” right now. Each one has it’s purpose good or bad, especially the long runs on the weekend. Even if I don’t run the entire mileage goal, I am determined to complete it however necessary to get the miles on my legs. That usually involves walk/run intervals which for the longest time makes me feel like I failed. As if not running an entire length of a race is a not acceptable. I know I know I have a lot to work on. But I’m getting better. Monday I ran 3 miles with negative splits and some weights at the gym. It’s Go Time for the next 15 weeks. I guess I better start reading….because it’s easier said than run.

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Run. Rest. Repeat.

After probably a bit too much pouting following the half, I am back to a routine. I dragged myself to track workout Tuesday afternoon with the plans of running slow and trying to shake off the rest of my bad attitude. The first lap was a pitiful 2:00. I accepted it, chalking it up to tired legs. Second lap 1:50. Hmmmm…..ok. Legs must have woken up. Third lap 1:48. I peaked at 1:45 doing 7 x 400 total. My redemption run. Mentally it gave me the boost to put the half behind me and realize that bad runs happen and as long as I put in the work I’ll be fine. Today was hill repeats. By now, though, I haven’t slept much this week (have I mentioned I have insomnia? Oh yeah…it adds another wrench into the mix). My legs were heavy and it was hot and humid. But I eked out 5. Not the greatest but I’m glad I got out there and pushed regardless of how exhausted I was. I get to rest until Saturday’s long run. Fingers crossed I won’t have another running meltdown. Then again, it’s easier said than run.

The silver lining.

It’s Tuesday and I am just now sitting down to write about the Echo Half Marathon. Not because of laziness or even being too busy. It’s because am still beating myself up on my performance and having a hard time letting it go. It’s so frustrating when you train so hard and yet it all falls apart. Even though I finished and it was technically a training run, I mean everything is until NYC, I am still pretty disappointed. It was miserably hot and humid from the moment the gun went off at 6:15am. I fueled with my typical Snickers bar and also some crackers with honey. I didn’t drink enough before I got there and I also made the biggest mistake of not bringing my water bottle, relying on the stations on the course. There were plenty however in those Florida conditions, you cannot just go from water stop to water stop. My body was sluggish and slow. I had no mental drive to push me. I think I started walking even before mile 4. Every step was painful. I caught up with a friend of mine running intervals and decided to stick with her. Run for 60 seconds and walk for 30. At least my legs were moving forward. It wasn’t until mile 9 where there were Pickle Pops. Yup, icy pickle flavored water that actually perked me up (and made me really want a burger). It was then that I learned that I need to start adjusting my hydration. Gatorade and GU is fine, but when you sweat heavily you lose electrolytes like it’s your job. The extra sodium kick was what finally woke me up. So I guess there is a reason for everything and I had to learn a lesson the hard way. And that is that. I’m trying to move past this race and really focus on the training that is about to happen. As I have mentioned before it really is easier said than run…

Five on Friday

4:15am. That really is an inhumane hour. Everything is dark. Everything is sleeping. Except for me and about 8 other not so human humans. This morning’s route was a hilly five around the neighboring town. It was hard to get started, still a bit sore from this past weekend however I did some negative split action (where you run a mile faster than your last). By mile four though, everything was light and everything was awake….especially my legs! It was a super strong finish and just felt good to get it all out this morning. This was my last run before the half marathon Sunday. From now until then there will be copious amounts of stretching,  hydrating (with and without electrolytes) and a little carb loading, though not much because bulk season is over! I guess I’m as ready as I will ever be. Stay tuned for race results and until then, this is what went in my belly this morning…

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Global Running Day

Now I like a good holiday. Are there really any bad ones? Christmas, Halloween, National Pizza Day and…you guessed it Global Running Day. June 1st runners all over the world lace up and get in those celebratory miles. I met up with the run group for 5 hot and humid miles. 60 of us, all dressed in our club shirts looking like a dorky white mass with hints of neon day glow yellows and pink ran all over the town after work. Afterwards, in typical runners fashion, we celebrated at a local pub though I refrained from any adult beverages. I am dedicated to running the half on Sunday in tip top shape. I was planning on running hill repeats this morning but when I woke up everything was sore. So today is dedicated to ice, stretching and getting extra electrolytes into my system. I’m going to run an easy 5 tomorrow morning then rest until race day. Am I getting nervous??? Omg….

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Insert catchy title here…

I already broke my promise about posting each run but it was a long weekend, I had company in town and well I’m just sorry.

Saturday was ten miles. It was decided because of the plans for later that day that we run in the neighborhood across the street twice. Leaving a cooler at the entrance, the first loop went by faster that I was planning but when my legs go I usually don’t stop them. A GU and a quick gatorade recharge helped start the second loop. Overall it was a good run. I was pretty beat up at the end but I jumped in the pool (yes in my running clothes, don’t judge me it was awesome!).

“Marisa you just ran ten miles, what are you going to do next?” “Go to Disney World!” Another twelve miles of walking the parks and my legs were beyond exhausted. Probably not the smartest thing to do but it was fun, and good marathon training no??

Monday morning was a Memorial Day run with the run club. 93 of us crazy people showed up to get some miles in before bbq’s, beaches and the like. I ran 1.5 miles and walked another 1.5. My legs were not having it. But I think I can say that barring any major incidents this week I think I am ready for Echo on Sunday. I have no finish time in mind, just a finish.

That’s all I have to report, a couple more runs this week, rest days and some healthy eating to get ready for Sunday. Keep you posted….at least that’s what she said.

The hills are alive with the sound of….runners

Did you sing that title? I did when I typed it 😀

Today was hill repeats. Got to get in some good hill work for strong legs and lungs. Plus from what I’ve heard, the NYC Marathon is deceivingly hilly, I mean it starts on the Verazano. That’s a stinkin’ bridge! At least it’s not the London Bridge. I heard it’s falling down. (ok enough with the song puns).  Anyway, I actually enjoy running hills. Not really sure why, my thighs are screaming by the time I reach the top but it’s like a mini accomplishment I guess. Plus running downhill is like heaven! This morning I did 5 repeats and with a warm up and cool down a total of 4 miles and much faster than I have been. All this hard work is finally starting to pay off. I still have a long way to go but it’s exciting to see my speed picking up a bit, no pain and though my distance isn’t where I would like it at this point, it is getting there. Tomorrow is a rest day and Saturday is my last long run before the ECHO Half Marathon June 5th. Think it’s ok to start carb loading now? I’ve got my eye on this cookie I saw….

Back in the saddle….again

Well it’s been three months since my last post which means one of two things, either 1. I was hurt again or 2. I am not very good at blogging. (Hint: it’s the second one) As we near June I realized it’s time to seriously focus. Running NYC is not something I can just get through with my charming wit and a couple fingers crossed.

So here’s what I’ve been up to: 3-4 days of running that include a speed workout, hill repeats, a short faster run and my long run. I also restarted the 30 day ab challenge for some core work which actually works quite well. I recommend it to anyone who wants to do a workout at home. I have also been counting calories to keep myself in check. If I can drop another 7 pounds, running will be a bit smoother, along with my clothing, though counting out my allotted M&M’s can be a bit demoralizing. What’s a girl to do??

Oh and the biggest new of them all….I lost a toenail! My first one. I feel like I finally entered into the exclusive runners club.

Well me and my nine toenails are done for now. Will keep the updates going. Thursday is hill repeats and Saturday is my last long run before the Echo Half Marathon. Hope my toenail comes back before then, then again it’s easier said than run.