Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Motivation


I don't even have words for this.  I seriously don't.

Its like Christmas in October.  And of course I only have to do 10 miles tomorrow, and I am thinking its going to be extremely difficult to do them at training pace and not marathon pace.

I might even wear a shirt.  :O)

Pre-Marathon Dreams

This was what I dreamed about last night

I suspect this is because as of right now, the forecast in Chicago on marathon day calls for a chance of rain.  That and because we actually had storms last night here in H Town.  I dreamed I was running and there were tornados ALL around me.
Do they even have tornados in Illinois?

Then I have had this dream a couple of times.

Every morning I have to go down the stairs where I live and then again when I get to work in the parking garage.  I am thinking I should wear flats from now through Wednesday.  I am beyond over cautious when going up and down stairs right now.

Do you ever have pre-marathon crazy ass dreams?  Normally for me they just revolve around running in general.  This time around though its just cuckoo stuff.  Whats the weirdest pre-marathon dream you can remember having?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happiness Is....................

  1. One week from today I will be in Chicago for the marathon!!  So happy we booked early flights so that we arrive by 10am!
  2. I get to meet some crazy peeps including this person at breakfast on Saturday in Chicago.  Wondering if Xaarlin is interested in joining?!?!?!
  3. Where we will gorge on pancakes at this neat-o place!  Which thankfully is only a mile from our hotel.
  4. I am excited to actually get the chance to see this and this, since I didn't last year.  In Marilyns defense she wasn't there last year.
  5. I am excited to run along Lake Shore Drive with my dear friend Tracey.  We plan to run a short 2-3 miles on Friday morning.  Last year I didnt run any in the days leading up to the marathon.  I wanted to, I just never planned it, so it didnt happen.
Hoping it looks like this:

aaaaaaaaaand not like this (blizzard of early 2011):

6.  Dinner reservations here with the girls on Friday.  Love this place!  Ate there twice while in Chicago last year.
7.  Looking forward the Chocolate Cake Shake here after the marathon!  I ate here the day after the marathon last year and it was to die for hot dogs!!!  I didn't have the Chocolate Cake Shake last year, but I have been told I must have one!
8.  Need I say more?  Certain Tracey and I will be here at some point on Thursday as soon as we can dump our bags off at the hotel!

Full On Taper Tantrum Mode

I am grumpy.

I am hungry.

I want to run more.

I want to eat more.

But I can't eat more because I can't run more and I don't/can't have any weight gain.

I stalk the damn weather in Chicago.  It changes 2 times a day more or less.  This means I can't be my normal self and pack a week in advance.

Oh and to top it all off, I am also PMS'ing which makes all of the above that much more awesome right? 

I swear I want to rip someones head off.  And by someone, I mean just one person in particular even though they certainly don't deserve me even thinking once let alone twice about them...

I am sick of chicken.
I am sick of vegetables.
I am sick of raw spinach leaves.
I am sick of boiled eggs.
I am sick of grits.

Oh and I am SO SO SO SO SO SO sick of heat and humidity.  I swear I live somewhere where its as hot as the insides of 20 million suns.

What are you sick of?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Just Like Broadway, We Go Dark From Time to Time

If there is one thing that I have learned about myself is that its always best that when I don't have anything (nice) to say its better that I not say anything at all.  (unless you are on GOMI, then all is fair!)

I think the world would be a better place if more people thought and actually acted this way as well.

And so bear with me dear readers as I step away from the keyboard until this too passes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Highway Robbery - Another Post About Outrageous Marathon/Half Marathon Fees

A few weeks back a friend posted a status on her Facebook about how asinine it was for a local entity to send her an email with a coupon for $10 off of a new marathon here in town. 

An indoor marathon.

That costs $125.00.

I am stunned.  Absolutely stunned. 

Its no secret that prices for not only marathons and half marathons have gone up exponentially (even since I started running in 2005), but also for 5K's, 10K's etc.

The thing about this is, when pushed for an answer on why?  why?  why?, the number one reason they give out for an increase or for the price in general is that they have to pay for road closures and cops for said road closures.

OK, thats great I guess.  Maybe they get a raise every year or something.  OR the cost of shutting down the roads goes up.  I don't know...(insert sarcasm here).  But when you increase the number of runners, you really shouldnt have to increase the price by $10-$20 per runner....

Anyway, thats a whole other topic...

The thing is with this particular marathon???

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....Its indoors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

According the site:
The Houston Reliant Stadium course is a 1.2 mile spiral loop contained within the massive facility.
  • The marathon and half-marathon begin on the playing field.   
  • Runners exit the playing field and travel immediately up 3 ramps to the Spectator Field Level loop – a 35 ft. wide pedestrian thoroughfare that circles the interior perimeter of the stadium.
  • After completing the Spectator Field Level loop, it's time to climb again – 8 more ramps to the Upper Concourse section – another expansive pedestrian thoroughfare.  The Upper Concourse loop also provides runners a panoramic view of the Medical Center and Downtown Houston skyline as they pass through the North Terrace zone.
    • At this point, runners have completed the Spectator Field Level loop, climbed a total of 11 ramps (with a total elevation gain of 165 ft.), and traveled around the Upper Concourse loop.  It's now time for runners to return to the playing field.
    • After completing the Upper Concourse loop, runners descend on the northwest ramps all the way back to the playing field.
  • Runners will travel the entire 1.2 mile loop in ONE DIRECTION – making it easy for faster runners to pass and ensuring an overall smooth flow of participants.  
    • Marathon – 22 laps 
    • Half-marathon – 11 laps
Guess what?


And why is this a 2 day event?  With 4 different start times for half marathoners?  Registration is closed as of October 15th, but I am wondering if this will be extended due to LACK OF PARTICIPATION!  Do you really think you are going to have that many half marathoners that you need 4 start times over 2 days?  They say each start is limited to 750 participants...I dont understand any of this...or why anyone would want to do it to begin with!  Sure its climate controlled, and a zero percent chance of rain or humidity...but I just dont get it...I just dont.

Anyway back to my original point....why is the cost so damn high when there are NO road closures, NO cops to direct traffic and/or runners, and certainly no rental fees for any equipment etc.??????  According to the website, you get a finishers shirt and a medal.  Nothing out of the ordinary there...

I will tell you  maker.

Maybe...the jury is still out on this one.  I will be watching this one closely!

What are your thoughts on this?  Would you ever run an indoor half or full marathon?  For that kind of money?

Bridges for Breakfast

All Summer long (for the most part) I have been avoiding running over bridges.  The kind that are our hills here in Houston.  I mean I go over them, but I dont run over them.  Every single time there have been hills in our routes on Saturdays its been a freaking long ass run, and I would save that energy for the miles I had ahead of me, not for making it to the top of a damn hill.  The only time this was not the case was along the bayou.  I still ran those but those are small in comparison as far as steepness and very short. 

Chicago is flat, and I just didn't do any hill workouts except for maybe 10 or so over at Hermann Park.

From my new house to I-10 it is 2 miles exactly.   However to get there one must go up and over the TCJester bridge which I hate with a passion.  Its worse one way than the other as one way up it, it is a bit steeper, the other side is longer with a slower incline.

Guess which one I hate worse?  Anyone that knows me or has been reading for a long time should know this answer.

So the mornings I have ran the past week, I have run exactly to the base of the bridge, then turn around head towards the bike path and then head West back through some neighborhoods.

Besides on the other side of that bridge is got some sketchy little side streets for a girl all alone in the dark.  And I see shadows that make me jump sometimes thinking someone is running up behind me.  I hate street lights sometimes for that!

Yesterday morning when I got to the base of that bridge, I thought "eh, just run up it to the top and you can then turn around".

So I put on my big girl panties and moved my legs and pumped my arms until I got to the top at a relatively fast pace. 

Then I did exactly what I said I could do, and I turned around and headed back in the same direction I had come from.  Back to where I felt comfortable.

But I thought to myself, that didn't suck.  Of course like I said, its a short mileage day.

So this morning, I was out the door again by 5am and headed for that bridge yet again.  I got to the bottom, ran to the top and stopped.  On the way up I had actually had a girl and her big ass dog cross paths and I was like well she came from the other side...

And then at the top, I could see a guy coming up the other side, and so off I went...into the darkness, down the slope and near the 'scary' streets where dogs bark at you as they are guarding whatever it is behind those gates...

I ran to I-10 then turned back around and then I had to go back over the bridge again but this time I knew once I got to the other side, I would be back on familiar ground ...

So the past 2 mornings I've had a bit of the TCJester bridge for breakfast and it hasn't been bad at all.  I'm running 4-5 miles each morning before work so a little bridge thrown in there doesn't make a damn bit of difference at this point. 

Besides its kinda cool being up at the top of it with the rail yard below you and you can see the light just beginning to break the horizon just past downtown.  Its actually quite pretty in some odd sort of way.

As scared as I might get sometimes early morning, running in the darkness is one of my favorite things to do.  Its like the rest of the world is sleeping or at least still in their pj's wishing they were still sleeping.  Gives me a sense of accomplishment for my day before its even really started.

Do you like morning (dark) running?  Why?  Or is it just too creepy for you?  I figure if someone is going to get me they are going to get me no matter what time of day it is!  :O)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Easy Breezy Week

I am so glad I decided to put on my glasses and look at my schedule (which hangs on the fridge) last night, otherwise I would have been doing a mile extra than I needed to each day!

I was setting things out so that I could get my ass up and at em early (another hot week here in Texas; 98 today!!!! grrrrr...) and get my run in under darkness, and I had walked into the kitchen and saw it said 5 miles.  Whaaat?  Yeahbaby!  With no more treadmill to run on right now after work, morning runs are where its at until Fall decides to show up, which is supposedly this coming weekend...please oh please oh please!!!

So thats pretty much what my week looks like.  There is some crazy ass speed workout on there for Wednesday, but I plan on just doing a tempo run.  Or a progressive.  Something. 

At this point the hay is in the barn.  I am not going to get any faster or any fitter 10 days out from race day.

What could happen is I could injure myself so I am just going to listen to my body, run what pace I think is doable on any given day and put a W in the column.

Every day I wake up and I realize its one day closer to me leaving for Chicago and one day closer to marathon day I get excited all over again.  I would have to say that I am much more excited about Chicago this year than last year and I have no idea why.

Its different somehow, but yet I cannot put my finger on exactly why....maybe it will come to me eventually but right now I am just reveling in my giddiness!!!

Have a great Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

p.s.  my run did happen this morning and good grief Charlie Brown was it hot and humid!!  August we fired you 3 weeks ago!  Pack your desk and leave!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kenyan Way "Long" Run - 12 Miles

Ah the first 'long' run of the official taper.  All week long the weather here had said it was going to be 66 deg this morning but it was not...So sad.

What it actually was at 5am was:  73/65/73  (temp/humidity/feels like).

Still an improvement, but not what I was anticipating.  I was supposed to meet a couple of girls at 5am, but 1 cancelled the evening before and the other decided at 5am to skip her run altogether.  Not a big deal because lets face it; at 5am there are already a lot of other runners there doing early miles and I was shocked I tell you to see CW there when I got out of the car as this was the first KW run she actually showed up to!  So we took off together and ran a decent paced 4 miles before I set off about 5 minutes ahead of the groups start. 

My intent when I thought it was going to be 66deg was to do a more advanced progressive run, but I altered the paces I wanted once I knew the actual conditions.  I split the 12 miles up into 3 increments and took each 4 progressively faster.  Once I hit the last water stop and knew I only had 2 miles to go, I put the hammer down just a bit more.

Overall I was VERY pleased with this run.  The 'cooler' conditions did help tremendously.  Some people may think I should not have done what I did today since I am in taper, but its still 2 weeks away and waking up this morning my legs are no worse for wear.  I actually was going to run this morning, just a short 3 miles before heading off to work at the Locker, but I will indeed just rest the legs since I will be standing on them for 5 hours later anyway.

I don't necessarily believe that its that imperative 2 weeks out that I do ALL my runs at training pace.  Once I get through this coming Wednesday then and only then will I dial back substantially, giving the legs a full 10 days of light running only.

I am more concerned with my nutrition right now, maintaining, even losing some weight before I land in Chicago.  Things there seem to be going well too.  Yes I am starving all the time but I am handling it well, even yesterday when all I wanted was yummy oily pesto pasta from Paulies, I just ordered the salad with grilled chicken on top.  Didnt even have a cookie.  :O)  I did however have a bite sized Reeses pumpkin though!  I have been having all my meals strictly cooked by me, so not only am I able to monitor my intake and ingredients, but it saves a ton of money.  Additionally I stayed away from the Gatorade on the route yesterday, only having one cup of it for the 12 miles.  Just too many unnecessary calories and the water was sufficient based on mileage and that I had a Gu with me midway through the run.

Speaking of nutrition, I picked up my gels and my endurolytes yesterday for Chicago (I am digging the Gu Roctane) and have stashed them in my carry on bag already.

Now if it would just be closer to boarding the plane, I would have some idea on how to pack clothes for race day. 

I have a couple of options already in mind, but until next Sunday I wont feel comfortable enough with the forecast for Chicago to actually pack anything.  Last year it was great up until the day we actually arrived in Chicago, 3 days ahead of time, that the forecast was actually what we knew we would have.  And then it was warm (actually hot during the days).  Thankfully all I had to do was lose the shirt and ran in what I was used to running in all Summer.  NOT what I was planning on and I was NOT happy about it either!

OK time to do some grocery shopping for the week! 

Have a great Sunday! 

2 weeks from today I will, at this time be in my corral ready ready ready to run!!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekend Motivation Part Deux

Because as a kid you believed you could do anything....and guess what?  You can!

Weekend Motivation


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why So Serious???

Why.  So.  Serious?

I recently had an Anonymous comment on one of my blog posts and while I don't really like Anonymous comments there isn't much I can do about it since I know some people don't have gmail/google logins therefore they need the ability to just type in a name when commenting.  And then that opens the door for Anonymous folks.

It has never been my experience that when someone posts as Anonymous that its ever anything really nice to say.  And I completely understand that not everyone has to say something nice; there is cause for opinion, disagreement etc.  I totally get that.  I am guilty of doing it myself a time or two back in the day ;o)


Here is what Anonymous wrote (partial):  "Good luck for Chicago but I don't think are gonna make your goal of 4:30 in Chicago. You might try but I have serious doubts and so should you."

Lets start off with the obvious here:  I don't know that I ever said my goal was 4:30, although I see where one would make that assumption given my Yasso 800's.  I don't know, maybe somewhere along the way I did.  Of course, I would love to do sub 4:30, 4:29:59 thank you would do nicely.  Actually 4:19:xx would be better, but I have already stated on several occasions that I am nowhere near the shape I was a year ago when that would have been possible, nor have I trained like I have in previous years.

Next lets tackle the "serious doubts" portion of the above sentence:

I don't have serious concerns or doubts about a goal time for a marathon.  Or for a half marathon.  Or a 5K.  If I was an elite runner, or someone whose family's well being and survival was contingent on how fast I ran a marathon in, then I might have serious concerns.  I am running a marathon with 45,000 other people to which I might finish in the top 50% if I am lucky and the weather is great (i.e. cold)

What I do have serious concerns and doubts about are: Is my mom with my dad in heaven and are they happy?  or... how I am going to make it through the holidays now that my mom has passed away....  or... the fact that my family doesn't seem to be 'put together' anymore...
Those are just a couple of my serious concerns.  Not all, but a couple...

Then Anonymous continued with:  "You are just not training enough for that kind of time."

Well now you might have part of this right and I vaguely remember saying this very thing a week or so ago in my blog and most recently as earlier this week in an email to another runner who asked what my 'goal' was.

I know and have admitted that I have opted for additional cross training this go round, and I did so for a few reasons...One being that I truly just love the hot yoga and it actually made me stronger.  I also did not want to train much on the treadmill and the outside running/training this Summer was just a heartbreaker and so I improvised and did what I had to do to make it work.

I also knew that this wasn't the only marathon I had coming up and I didnt want to burn myself out like I did last year for Chicago training and then balked on the additional marathons afterwards because I was just freaking tired of running all the time.

I have every intention of going through with Dallas and Houston, and (starting last week), and going forward it will be strictly running to do my best at each.  So I made the decision to do what I thought was best for me for Chicago and that meant what it meant.

Lastly I don't know how you come up with that presumption, but training is training and doesn't always have to come in the form of running.  I am pretty confident that I am fully capable of 4:30 given the conditions that are ideal to me and for me.

If they arent then I will adjust my race day plan, go easy and save it for Dallas White Rock.  And if White Rock sucks, then I will go easy there and save it for Houston...

My point is that really there hasn't ever been a 'goal' for Chicago.  Its always has been about me honoring my mom who passed away in March. 

The people at work paid my entry fee on behalf of her passing and that is what has kept me going all Summer long when I wanted to quit, because my momma didn't raise no quitter.

Lastly  Anonymous wrote:  "But, I hope you seriously make 4:30 in Chicago..."

Gee.  Thanks.

Maiden Voyage

Its been 2 weeks today since I have moved to my new place and for this reason or that reason I hadn't run in the new 'hood other than after work.  I don't know why on a couple of occasions I chickened out running at 5am when I was use to do it all the time in the other 'hood, and honestly its more runner friendly where I live now as not only are there normal sidewalks everywhere, but I literally walk out of our gate and step foot onto the TCJester path that all the bikers and runners use.  AND its definitely well lit.  The only thing is running under those overpasses which is awesome for safety not having to cross intersections, but spooky because you can hear bats and there are homeless people that live up in the crevices near street level.

I don't like running after work, because its still hot as hell here (not AS hot as it was, but still 90's) and I dont like waiting until 6:30 or 7 to run, so this morning I was bound and determined to get my ass out there.  Scared or not.  It had to happen.

I have mapped out several different routes/distances using my favorite site for doing that, and all of them are on surface streets for the most part avoiding the bike/running path.  Besides that thing is actually boring.

So at just past 5:10am this morning I stepped out into the morning darkness and began my run.  I ran with my music, only one earbud in of course, and when you are out there running and not in a car, its way more lit than it appears when you are driving it.  Kind of like how if you go over a hill/overpass in your car and it 'doesn't seem so bad' but then you are standing at the bottom of it and you're

Totally different.

I posted on Facebook that I was heading out, a generalization of where I would be running and that if I hadnt posted again by a certain time, someone needed to come look for me....  :O)... So I set off on my route and honestly because it was so well lit I had no problems whatsoever with any scarey feelings.  There were a few people out, until I ran down this one street then I was alone but it was fine.  Still well lit.  I did pass up the street I was going to turn on and before I knew it I was a bit farther than I had intended and just modified the route on the fly.

So I feel sooooooo much better now that the first run is out of the way and I feel confident that its perfectly fine...its just a bit scary the first time as is a lot of things I suppose.

The actual physical portion of the run was good.  It was definitely cooler (73) out but still major humid and by the time I returned home an hour later, I was drenched.  Not sure why that surprised me, but it did.  Not so much the sweat, but the amount of it....

Now I am much happier because my run for the day is done!  I just love running first thing in the morning!!! 

Do you????

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Go Speed Racer!

As a filler for a post today, I figured I would post the 'speed' workout from last night.
I actually am supposed to do speed workouts on Wednesdays, but given the day I had yesterday (still SO busy at work!), and a little frustrating incident with another human being, I decided to get the workout done a day early!
The bad thing was that it was hot as hell outside and I needed to do 800's and I didnt want to have to find a high school I went down to the work gym and asked them if I could use the treadmill for just one day (I had cancelled my membership since I get a free one to Houston Gym now, but haven't gone by there to take care of that)...They said I could use it and I was elated!

Typically 3 weeks out from my marathons, my schedules call for Yasso 800's x 10.
Well I knew ahead of time that my ADD really just doesn't allow for the monotony of that so I improvised.
Here is what my workout actually ended up looking like:

  • 1 mile warm up
  • 2 x 800m at 9:00 pace (1 min rec in between)
  • 3 min easy jog
  • 2 x 800m at 9:00 pace (1 min rec in between)
  • 10 min easy jog
  • 4 min Tabata session at 8:29pace
  • 5 min easy jog
  • 2 x 800m at 9:00 pace (1 imn rec in between)
  • 3 min easy jog
  • 4 min Tabata session at 7:59 pace
  • 5 min cool down
Sometimes you just gotta improvise!  I was a sweaty sweaty sweaty mess, but the workout did just the trick!  Made me not think about work, made me visualize Chicago and also reminded me that my legs are doing pretty darn ok!!

I haven't take a full on rest day since last Friday, so I was thinking of doing that today.  But I also kinda feel like I want to run.  We'll see how I feel around 6pm tonight.

Sorry for the boring post, but I figured I would jot something down while scarfing down this wonderful lunch of chicken and vegetables...I'm pretending its a hamburger with avocado and a side of fries....

What did you have for lunch today????

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to Survive The "Taper"

If this was a legitimate running website and I knew everything about everything, I could tell you to run less, rest more and leave it at that.  Keep things simple and everything will work out fine.  Instead, my aim is to provide you with everything you need to know about this topic based on MY experiences.  Hopefully this will help first time marathon runners whilst acting as a reference for those that are more experienced.

There are many questions surrounding the marathon taper. Why should I taper? How long should I taper? Do I completely or partially rest? Is cross training a viable option to maintain fitness?

Tapering is simple and easy, yet should not be ignored. Firstly, lets define the taper. Surely the dictionary definition will be sufficient:

....the period of decreased running milage before a marathon

In my view, the dictionary definition outlines what a taper is, but fails to give an explanation. Thus, the need for an updated definition:
the period of training, usually three weeks before a marathon, when runners cut significant distance from their training, along with changing eating patterns, ensuring adequate rest, preparing psychologically and modifying the time length and intensity to cater your individual needs
However, after stating that tapering is simple and easy it would be wrong for me to leave it at this. For the purpose of simplifying the above and acting as a quick reference point, see the tapering formula:
successful tapering = proper timing + decreased running + modified nutrition + adequate rest + mental preparation + customization + self control
Many runners see the taper as boring and frustrating.   I know I do.  So many things go through my mind I honestly feel at times that I am going cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

A more logical way to train for a marathon would be to gradually increase your training over a few months and run the race without tapering.  This approach works when you only consider fitness.  During marathon training your muscle power diminishes, glycogen stores are depleted and overall muscle fatigue is accumulated.  The tapering period is simply to minimize the negative effects of a long distance training schedule.

Other benefits of tapering include:
  • lactic acid production reduced
  • restoration of enzymes and antioxidants
  • rebalancing of hormones
  • strengthening immune system
The taper period will be what makes your physically strong on race day.  Many runners have no problems with the physical aspect of the taper.  Resisting the urge to run, staying positive and being calm is where many runners struggle.

Choosing a suitable tapering period can be tough, given the amount of varying suggestions.  Generally, advise will tell you that 1 week is not enough and more than 3 weeks is unnecessary.  My training schedules feature a 3 week tapering period, however more experienced runners are encouraged to find what works best for themselves.  Up until you have completed a few marathons, I would not recommend experimenting with a period less than 3 weeks.  I also am not a fan of a 4 week taper.  I have never done a 4 week taper and never will.  You lose enough during 3, let alone a whole other week.  I would be too scared that I just wouldn't be ready.  People do them though...just not me.

Running in the taper period should be no different than ordinary training.  Some runners increase the speed of their workouts to offset the decrease in distance, either intentionally or unintentionally.  Be mindful of this as running faster will defeat the purpose of tapering and will not allow your body to recover.

Listen to your body. Don’t worry about cutting short or skipping a workout if you feel tired or sluggish.  The taper is all about recovering from the effects of a long distance training schedule.  Remember that its not the training done in the taper that will help you on the marathon day.  Rather, the gradual buildup of distance over the last few months that will get you across the finish line.

Running less than your training schedule specifies is fine, however don’t take this advice in reverse.  Try not to run any more than your training schedule says, even if you feel rested and recovered.  Sticking to your training schedule, being mindful of the speed in which you run your workouts and listening to your body are the key components of a successful taper.

It sounds crazy to decrease your training three weeks out from a marathon.  Runners struggle more psychologically in the tapering period than they do physically.  To add to this, a side effect of decreased running is that you are left with a significant amount of free time. 

Yes.  A side order of crazy to go please.

The main problem in regards to nutrition during the tapering period is that many runners make the mistake of not cutting down on food intake, even though you have cut a significant amount of distance off your training schedule.  As I had finished up on Saturday, KWade said to me 'now the hard part is to not gain weight over the next 3 weeks.'

True dat.

However, this does not mean you need to diet as you need plenty of carbohydrates for the distance still existent in your training schedule.  In addition, plenty of protein is needed for your muscles to recover from the effects of a high distance training schedule.  Avoid foods high in saturated fats as this will lead to weight gain.

Apart from being mindful of eating excessive carbs or unhealthy foods, taper nutrition should be similar to training nutrition.   By no means should you be following a low carb diet.  It doesn’t not matter if you put on a bit of weight during the tapering period as you will likely burn off the excess weight on marathon day alone.  I however clearly try very, very, very hard to avoid weight gain before race day.

Common Mistakes in Tapering:
  • Not tapering
    • Dumb.  There isn't really any other way for me to put it.  If you continue to wear your body down up until even a week before marathon you are going to have a really tough time out there.  Sure you will finish, but its going to suck.
  • Not tapering enough
    • See above.
  • Cross Training
    • Cross training is a legitimate form of additional training in a marathon training schedule but should be avoided (in excess) in the tapering period.  Some runners compensate the decrease in distance ran by increasing the amount of cross training they do.  Avoid this mistake as the entire purpose of the tapering period is to rest your body before race day.  I for one as I stated in a previous post am giving up Bikram/hot yoga and just focusing on getting some running in, at an easy pace and just letting things heal.  My yoga will be confined to my new solarium and in 15 min increments a couple of times a week.
  • Increasing speed
    • Guilty as charged.   If you perform speed work in your normal training schedule, then you should consider doing some in your tapering period, however do so at a decreased amount and avoid doing any in your final week of tapering.  This week is my last real speed workout with Yasso 800's, but I also intend to run my 12 miler this coming Saturday at closer to MP than I have been (pretty good cold front coming and I want to take advantage of it).  Some runners increase their speed as the decrease in distance does not leave them feeling exerted or tired at the completion of their runs.  However, be aware that the purpose of the taper is to give your body a rest, not wear it down more and leaving you more susceptible to injury.
  • Neglecting sleep
    • This has never been an issue for me.  I love sleep.  I wish I could sleep more but meds etc., keep me from those lovely 8 hours of sleep a night thing.  Sleeping is often underestimated, especially in the final week of the tapering period.  If you don’t already, try to get your sleep pattern in order before race day to ensure you are sufficiently rested and can go to sleep and wake up at reasonable times on the day before and on the day of the marathon.  Personally I think that two days before race day is the most crucial.  Most folks don't sleep too well the night before due to nerves or whatever.  Just like with my food, my day of must have rest is 2 days prior.  The day before I have a somewhat larger than normal lunch, but then I will usually only have a small dinner salad and cup of soup for dinner.  Having all that food in your stomach just weighs you down on marathon morning and can inhibit you before and during the race.
  • Drinking
    • By drinking, I am not referring to alcohol consumption (although reducing this will likely be beneficial).  Instead I am referring to fluid intake.  This is especially important during the final week of the taper and more important as race day grows closer.  As a general rule, as soon as you start carbo loading (which I do not condone nor practice), begin increasing your fluid intake.  This does not mean drinking water like crazy, instead having a steady fluid intake and being mindful about dehydration.
  • Letting your mind win
    • The psychological battle during the taper should not be underestimated.  Have a plan in place and avoid starting to make compromises with aspects of your training.  For example, many runners start tapering 3 weeks from the marathon, feel like they have all the energy in the world and try to increase their fitness for the marathon by adding another week of training.  Find some other activity to replace running and make an effort to stick to your tapering plan.
  • Getting injured
    • The truth is that most injuries can be prevented.  I would suggest that most injuries incurred during the taper period would be a result of two factors: running to much distance or not listening to your body.  Keep in mind that the tapering period serves no benefit for increasing fitness for the marathon day; the fitness was acquired in the pervious months of training.  If you feel tired or sluggish listen to your body, not your training schedule and skip a workout or two. Don’t take this advice in reverse though, if you feel great do not increase the speed or distance of your runs.
  • Not being aware of the benefits
    • By understanding the benefits of tapering and the physical advantage that it provides, you will be more likely to follow the advice in this guide and less likely to make any of the above mistakes.
Common Fears of Tapering
  • I will lose too much fitness by race day
    • Yes, you will loose some fitness before race day. However, you will decrease accumulated fatigue, increase glycogen stores and increase your muscle power in the process. The final result will be a faster time on race day, even though a slight amount of fitness may have been lost. Additionally, you will likely regain this fitness by completing the actual marathon.
  • What if I dont taper enough and I am sluggish on race day?
    • By following the information in this guide, you will be pretty much guaranteed to avoid this situation. However, at the same time you should listen to your body. If you feel tired or sluggish running, consider skipping a workout and taking a rest day. Also be aware that your body may be adapting to the change from a high distance running schedule to a relatively easy training schedule.
  • I will get too bored and try to run too much
    • Firstly, be aware of the reasons why to taper. In doing this you will likely take the taper more serious than otherwise. Secondly, you need to find something to occupy your time in which you would otherwise be running. Some suggestions have already been mentioned above. Its as simple as finding an area of your life that may have been neglected during the months spent training for the marathon.
How long do you taper?  Have you experimented with different times?  Do you go absolutely nuts or am I just the only one?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Where I Went and Where I'm Going

Last Weeks Training (where I went)

Monday - 6 miles - Check!  Treadmill
Tuesday -  Hot yoga (90 min) - No check! - Unscheduled rest day.  The previous 8-10 days caught up to me and I just felt like my body needed a break big time.
Wednesday - 8 miles  - Check!  Treadmill.
Thursday - Hot Yoga (90 min) - No check!  Officially decided that there would be no more [yoga] until after Chicago.  Instead I ran in my new 'hood for 5.5 miles (yay running!)
Friday - Rest Day - Check!
Saturday - 22 miles.  -  Check!  Yep the last looooong run before Chicago. 
Sunday - NOTHING!!  -  No check!  I actually got out and did 12 hilly miles along the bayou on the bike to stretch out the sore quads!  Go me!!!

This Weeks Training (where I'm going)

Monday - 4 miles
Tuesday - 6 miles
Wednesday - 8 miles incl 10x800 (yassos)
Thursday - 5 miles
Friday -  Rest
Saturday - 12 miles
Sunday - Rest

Kenyan Way Long Run - The LAST Long Run

You know Mother Nature truly just had to nail that final nail in my coffin this past Saturday.  Thank goodness for the lovely weather 2 weeks ago on my 20 miler because the past 2 weeks have just been miserable.

And this one couldn't have come at a worse time.

Friday morning was just so lovely I had high hopes for a similar outcome just a measly 24 hours later.

Twas not the case.

When my alarm went off at 3am, I actually had a bit of a stutter and didn't want to get up.  But get up I did.  Reluctantly.

I started chowing on my Brown Sugar Pop Tarts (my go to fuel before really long runs and marathons)...and looked at my app on my phone.

86% humidity

When I walked outside on the porch it felt much worse.

And I said out loud:  Shit.

Well it wasn't ideal but I would adjust my strategy for the day and be done with it.

Thankfully I had had an offer from one of my friends to meet me at 4am (and she isnt even training for anything!) so I was ecstastic about that!  When I arrived at JH base I was SHOCKED to see 2 other folks already there.  Both of which I knew, so that was fun to see.  C ended up running part of her early morning miles with CH and I, but SM started ahead of us but I could see him up until he turned on Crestwood.

CH and I took off roughly at 4am as planned and headed towards the park.  We were running about a 10:40 pace and that was cool with me.  I had wanted to adjust my plan for the day to 7/1's based on the conditions but didn't have the heart to ask her to do that.  So the first 8 miles went as a straight on run only stopping for water twice.  I had my handheld that I dropped off on Crestwood that was waiting for us on the 2 mile trek back to base where I was supposed to meet with CD at 5:30 since she had 15 to do and wanted me along to keep her on track.

By the time I got back to base I was soaked clean through just like August, but opted to not change the shoes/socks out. 

I should have.  But looking back on it at least only 1 pair was full of sweat and covered in mud/dirt as opposed to 2 pair.  A route that includes Memorial and Rice will make mud pies from your shoes when soaked in sweat.

CH and I take off and I began the 7/1's for the next 14 miles.  To be honest I dont have the exact mileage due to resetting the Garmin and switching to intervals after 8 miles, but I can tell you I was out there for a total of 4.5 hours (which included all water stops, potty stop (1) and a couple of extended walk breaks, traffic and what-not) and to me thats the equivelent of 22 training miles but was probably closer to 21 if I added it all up.  With the route only being 10 miles this week, there was a lot of creativity to tack on mileage before and after.

I know not how I survived as well as I did.  It was WAY better than some of the 17-19 milers in August where there was more walking in the later miles than running, but nowhere as good as the awesome 20 miler 2 weeks ago in great weather.  I have to trust that given the conditions it was sufficient and that I will indeed reap the benefits on race day.

There were SO MANY MORE people than normal and there were issues with enough fluids but Kenyan Way does such a great job with that!  So lucky to have them.  Once they start to run low, someone is off to replenish.  I know every stop was just crammed with people this past week.

I had 3 gels, but basically the entire run I was starving.  This was new to me because I have never experienced full on hunger on a long run before.  I am REALLY watching what I eat, knowing full well that my hunger is just in overdrive, but I dont necessarily have to satisfy it to the point of weight gain.  Not going to make the same mistake I made last year thats for sure.  Once I got home I had a big bowl of homemade spaghetti which was unbelievably awesome if I may say so myself!  I had made it Thursday night, so by Saturday morning the leftovers were that goodness that only comes from those foods that are so much better 1-2 days afterwards.

I did a short ice bath afterwards, tried to sleep...couldn't.  Not even with a 'pill' to help.  I rested as much as I could; watched a movie on HBO, then decided to get out of the house which was awesome because it was raining and we havent had rain in so so so so long I wanted to enjoy it.  No umbrella for this girl!!!

I stayed busy which I figure helped with the fatigue in my legs when I woke up Sunday morning. 

It was there for sure, especially in my quads, but I hopped on the bike and did a nice hilly 12 miler (was hoping for 20 but the rain came again and while it was fine for a bit, it got much worse and I needed to pack it in).

I had every intention of running this morning before work, but I was woken up with the thunder, lightning and pouring down rain!!!  Yay!  Thats the kind of rain we need!  So I didnt mind having to postpone until this evening.  8-9 more hours of rest for the legs can't hurt!

Probably wasn't the best idea to wear 5" stilettos today.  : o /

One Of Houston's Best? Yep... :O)


So thank you to everyone who voted, and who read and follow me! 
Thanks CSBLocal!!!!


I have SO much to catch up on!  A few blog posts to write, blogs to catch up was a wonderful weekend and we are just TWENTY. DAYS. AWAY. FROM. THE. CHICAGO. MARATHON.

Can you say TAPER baby?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Weekend Motivation

So its come down to tomorrow.  Six weeks ago there were times I thought time was just going to stand still and that September 17th would never get here.
The brutal Summer stole my spirit a time or two.  Made me feel less than a person capable of doing another marathon.  Made me think on more than one occasion that I could just quit for Chicago, and then regroup for Dallas White Rock and Houston.  I never even really wanted to do Chicago again, but I let myself be talked into it an hour before it sold out.  And yes there were times when those people backed out (within a month) that I felt bitter.  But then now, going with one of my best friends, that makes it all ok. 

I am not sure how to explain it but I never let myself get off easily.  I had many a heart to heart with myself, mostly about how I had come this far already...that I had been here before (not quite but this Summer has been the worse yet, and there are statistics to back me up)...and that if I just persevered then I would possibly reap the benefits.
Walking out onto my porch first thing this morning as I do every morning (even before brushing my teeth), I felt a bit of weather that felt somewhat like what we had 2 weeks ago and a big smile came over my face.

While on and after my run last night, which about killed me, I was already thinking if I felt like this now, there is no way I was going to survive Saturday.  Then this morning Mother Nature gave me a bit of hope.  I am nowhere near in the shape I was before Chicago 2010 and I have to be OK with that.  I didn't run as much during this training session, opting for hot yoga 2 days a week most weeks and only running 3-4 days a week.

Running 20-22 miles in 70 deg weather is going to be so much nicer than running a measly 6 miles in 94deg weather with the sun beating down on you which is what I was faced with yesterday afternoon (another post on running in my new hood to come).

So as I said, it all comes down to tomorrow.
Wake up is at 3am.  Lift off is 4am.
Good thing about that is that it'll be cooler at 7am than when I actually start running at 4am.
I always love that.

What's on your agenda this weekend????

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scaredy Cat!

It's been one week today that I moved into my new place which is just 5 miles North of where my old place was. 

Its a better area I guess you could say but any area can be bad.  Bad people just come into the good areas, do their badness and then leave.  You can't judge an area by the houses and cars alone and I know this.

Where I moved is ideal for runners and bikers.  The bike path and running paths abound and go for miles and miles.  The only time I have run on these paths is when the KW route takes us along them and by the time we ever got to that stage in the route its been daylight or at least daybreaking. 

On two separate occasions since moving I have laid my things out to get up and run a few miles at 5am just like I would do at the old place, and both times I have just chickened out.  I don't know why, because honestly the other place was more creepy in sections than here.  I don't know if its the lack of businesses, houses and traffic or what, but it just seems more desolate.  There are more areas where there is nothing, not a house or anything ESPECIALLY if you do run ON the bike path itself, but I don't think I could do that even if I wanted to.  I am just talking about running the sidewalks.

I know that a while back I wrote about safety on the run and I think its important to go with your gut.  I also know that its just going to take me a time or two of actually getting out there and running the routes I have mapped out to get some semblance of comfortable.

So bottom line is that I didnt run this morning so I will just run farther tonight :O).  I was going to do yoga this week and then pack it in until after Chicago, but I have decided to take this additional week and just focus on running.  I will return to hot yoga after I get back.  I still cannot freaking believe that Chicago Marathon is 23 days away!  Ack!

For the next couple of weeks I will just run, run and run some more.  I'll do home yoga for 15 min or so (now that I really have the space for it!) to keep the muscles stretched out a bit and not all tight and compact.

I mapped out a solid 6 mile route which I will do this evening, easy to add on to now that I know how far the bike path goes! So tonight will actually be the first night I go out exploring.  Maybe once I get out there, get my wits about me, landmarks and such, I will start to feel more comfortable about running in the wee hours while others are still dreaming in their beds.

If you ever need a great site to map out routes, this is the one I use:  Running Map

Have you ever moved and found it difficult to run in a new area due to uncomfortableness of your new surroundings?  Do you run in the wee hours alone ever?  How many days until your big race?!?!?!?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If You Want Warm and Fuzzy All The Time (you might want to consider a stuffed animal)...But Here is My Attempt at Giving You That Today

I am still busy as a bee and just not a lot of time to write, heck I am missing lunch altogether today, but I thought since there was such an uproar over the Pearl Izumi ad I used yesterday to get a point across about a personal experience with maybe more than one person in my real life (the ad was not used for a source of debate and I am (for now) going to leave my opinion about the ad's to myself....So now I give you the warm and fuzzy adverstisement that will make everyone feel better.

Just remember that I have bad days and bad situations, and I think it would be irresponsible of me to put out a facade that made me look like everything was hunky-dorry in my world 100% of the time.  :O)

And Jamoosh also wrote a great post about my post, and well...I know where I stand on the matter but I am outraged at the thought of a marathon with no time limit and where there were people 'doing' the marathon that actually stopped for lunch.

And if you haven't seen one of the comments left on yesterdays post, I am posting it here because ... well ... I agree with everything he wrote.  Especially the part I bolded and underlined.

I think their ads are awesome. The thing I love about running and the marathon is the challenge to excel. There's nothing like the marathon. Too many people focus on the idea that this ad, or any of their ads, are about fast versus slow. To me, it's about those willing to do their best versus those who do the bare minimum, or slightly less. I tend to be a front-of-the-pack runner, but I can relate to a mid or back of the pack runner if they are truly going out there and giving their best effort. I don't care about pace, and no respectable person does. What's important is whether you are giving all you can when the race comes. It doesn't matter if you're a front, mid or back of the pack runner. If you don't respect the fact that running a race was originally created as a form of competition, to push yourself and improve yourself in the spirit of competition, and worse, you look down on people who place an importance on their performance, their preparedness and are a little obsessed with self-improvement in running, then I will never be able to relate to you, and this ad campaign won't either. I love to see people struggle across the finish line, 3, 4 and 5 hours after it starts. If they are struggling because they worked their tail off and gave their all, I love them all the more. But if someone (who thinks they are busier than, or somehow their time is more important than, the other 20,000 runners in the race) tries to say what they do and don't have time for, make excuse after excuse about why they cannot run often, then they show up for the race, walk 3/4 of it, may or may not finish in the allotted time, and expect the rest of us to put them on the same "level" as someone who maybe ran an equivalent time but DID put IN THE WORK, they are barking up the wrong tree...AND they will be offended by an ad campaign like this.

I love this ad. It says "Here's what I like to do, and yeah, it's hard, but you know what? I'm going to go out and do the best I can each time and RACE each time I'm out there. And by the way, you should too."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Truth Is Gonna Hurt You More Than Me

I had this long blog post written up, but still had more to write, and then after sleeping on it, I have decided to just let a picture say it for me.

If you are going to sign up for a marathon or a half marthon or whatever 'contest', then please, don't just talk the talk, walk the walk.
Those people that don't respect the distance and trash talk the training really get under my skin.
We'll see who comes out ahead of who on race day.


Also, I am so behind on reading blogs, commenting, answering emails etc., and I apologize!
This move along with training, working etc., has just really screwed up my 'life' schedule.  Hoping to be back on track at the very latest by Thursday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kenyan Way Long Run - 13 12 Miles (Cut Back Week)

I didn't really check the weather on Saturday before leaving, but if I had to guess it was around 74 degrees (was supposed to be cooler) with more humidity than we had been blessed with the previous 7 days.

Lets just say that I was sweatier after Saturdays 12 miles than I was on the 20 miler last weekend.  Doi.

As I mentioned the schedule said 13, but I only got 4 in before heading out with Cari.  We left maybe 3-4 minutes before the first group took off.  It still felt 'good' out and Cari was happy about it, so I ran too fast with her for the 1st couple of miles before telling her that I wanted to save it so I just let her be a bit ahead of me throughout the 6 at the end.  I would catch her at the water stops and then we'd go off again.  Once I had 4 left to do I picked it up even more (but still the Garmin was not reflecting that so I dont know what the hell was wrong with it).

I definitely felt the tiredness in my legs from all the moving activities and there was soreness in them too due to all the stairs (I now live on the 2nd floor) for 2 days.  Up.  Down.  Up.  Down.  Plus I have a parking garage and there are stairs there too.  :o/   I hate stairs.

Because of this I just didn't feel that this run was what I had hoped for, but its fine.  Its one of the reasons I scheduled my move for a weekend in between long runs, so it was the right thing to do.  I also wanted to be moved way in advance of going to Chicago.

The extra humidity was unfortunate but hey, considering that I survived worse all Summer, it was still awesome out.  And where were the 64deg temps?????!!!!!!  They sure werent here like they said!

We are scheduled for 100+ degree temps through Wednesday/Thursday again, but this typically happens here.  September teases, then it mocks us, then it goes back to 'normal'.  Just happened a bit sooner than it normally does.

I'd give anything for some true 60's this coming Saturday morning, but I know thats not going to happen so I will just have to make the best of it!!!

How were your long runs?  Races?  Big week ahead?

Where I Went and Where I'm Going

Where I Went (last weeks training)

Monday - 3 miles easy, 2 hot yoga classes  (3 hours worth! back to back), 2 mile trail run (with the Hashers)  Check!
Tuesday -  Hot yoga (90 Min)  Check!
Wednesday - 8 miles  Check!
Thursday - 4 miles  No check!  Moving day and I just had to much to wrap up that morning before the movers got there; which they arrived before 8.  I figure all the up and down of the stairs, plus moving the small stuff myself from my car counted for something! 
Friday - Rest Day   Check!
Saturday - 13 miles (cut back week); plan is to do the last 5 at goal marathon pace (10:18 or better)  Check!  Overall average pace was 10:29.  Honestly I think my Garmin is wonky.  Some of my miles were way faster than it indicated.  Hoping a hard reset to get it back working after the cat knocked it off the counter will help.
Sunday - 4 miles  No Check!   Just exhausted from moving for 2 days, working on Saturday after the run.  Plus I had to work on Sunday as well.

Where I'm Going (this weeks training)

Monday - 6 miles
Tuesday -  Hot yoga (90 min)
Wednesday - 8 miles
Thursday - Hot Yoga (90 min)
Friday - Rest Day
Saturday - 22 miles.  Yep the last looooong run before Chicago.  I still can't believe its 26 days to race day!
Sunday - NOTHING!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekend Motivation

Now go out there, move around a bit (or a lot), enjoy your weekend, spend time with friends, enjoy your family and always, always be kind to one another!!!

New Dwelling

In an attempt to push my mental health and overall well being/outlook on life in general, in a move forward/positive direction, I went from living in a place like this:

I am not exagerating was indeed a dark and dreary cave of an abode!

To a place like this:

This is not an actual picture of my place but it captures the overall look and feel of it right down to the double French doors leading into a solarium.
I am in love and so is the Nugget!

Thanks to everyone who has been voting for me for one of Houstons Best Fitness/Health Bloggers!
Voting ends today and I believe winners will be announced on September 16th!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Truth Shall Set You Free - The Road to Strong Mental Health

I learned this morning that a book that has been in the works has been finished.
I am not going to reveal who wrote the book (her 3rd) until after its edited, published and available for sale.  Some of you that may read her blog may have seen this picture and know of who I am speaking of, but if you don't you will still have to wait a bit longer.

Yours truly, JunieB, will be a short story in this book.  Without giving too much away (the title for example), its a book of course focusing on healthy living, healthy habits and overcoming obstacles on the path to those things.

I told my story, in more words than she probably would have liked, and yes I was edited, but sometimes I write like I speak, so I wrote it as if I was talking directly to her.  I knew that I needed to keep a lot of the details out because the whole book isn't about me, I am just a very small piece in it along with a lot of others.  After a few back and forth edits, I signed off on the small section that is about me.

I told the story (very briefly) of my past transgressions and secrets that for most have never ever known about me.  Again it is a Cliff notes version, but even just telling the small details that I did include I think will not only startle and surprise some people (if anyone I know actually reads it), but it finally feels good to know that I don't have to keep it in any longer.

Its not that I am ashamed of some of these things, but its just generally something people don't just tell.  At least I wasn't going to.  As it stands right now, the writer of this book and 3 other people know the deepest darkest secret that I have kept my entire life.  Well there is 1 other person that I told in the middle of a fit in the car once, but I am certain he forgot about that a long time ago. 

As I said I am not ashamed of my past, but rather I know that I am who I am because of it..whether that is bad or good, I don't know.

I will post whenever the book and its title whenever it is released.


I will be a bit MIA over the next few days as I am in the process of moving!  YAY!  I have been ready for this move for weeks but I had to wait until the other tenants moved out and I finally got my keys today!
Additionally I have opted to forego internet and DVR at my new place.  I am hoping that this is something I can live with :O)  

The main reason for this is because quite honestly I think the internet and DVR are a time suck in my life.  My laptop is connected to the internet every second I am at home for the most part.  I have gone a day or so without it, but it stares at me and I feel this pull to check email, Facebook, Twitter etc.  Who needs to read a live feed of mindless drivel for hours before turning in at night and the first thing when I get up?  Not me.  If I need to check any of those things I can use my phone.

For internet access to write or for research, that will require a trip to Starbucks, Whole Foods or somewhere else where I can sit outside possibly, amongst human beings and have interaction with others instead of holed up in a room.

As far as the DVR, if I miss something, I miss something.  I can watch whatever it is that I feel I must on the internet on my lunch hour at work.  :O)

Gonna be like a whole new world!  And I am excited about it!  One more way to rid my head of all the blah blah blah that is just unnecessary.

Have you ever thought of unplugging in such a way?  Do you think technology plays too big a part in peoples lives?  I am still old fashioned in that I like to actually talk on the phone instead of this texting bullshit and I will typically call someone who texts me unless its to say "on my way!" or something simple.  And why do people have actual back and forth conversations on Facebook?  Does everyone really need to see your what I would think might be best handled by text or by phone? 

I also have really come to love the Hide button on Facebook.  I forget people are actual friends on my list after a while until I manually have to go to their page to check in.  And I am also really liking that I can choose who sees which status updates.  Not everyone needs to know everything!

Do you use Facebook?  Do you have people on there that you have hidden or hide things from because they are just too 'interested'?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wrap It Up - How to Dress for Cooler Temps When Running

Well I wouldn't necessarily say Fall has fallen, but we did get what was forecasted for us and for the past several days the temps have been falling.  Its been downright Chamber of Commerce weather around here with not only much lower temps but much much lower humidity!

By the time I left for work this morning the temps were at 63deg and I was giddy!  Unfortunately due to me sorta overdoing it yesterday on the physical activity scale, I was beat down this morning and just couldnt bring myself to run before work.  I jokingly made a comment on Facebook that I should drive by Memorial Park just for the fun of it to see how many people I could spot with gloves on.

I would bet my last dollar that there was at least one person.  Texans for the most part are warm weather fans (no matter how badly they bitch about the heat/humidity), and typically will complain even more about how cold it is as soon as it goes below 70deg.

Now I am generally cold all the time unless I am outside when its hot.  And yes there are times in the Winter when I will complain about that too, however I would rather be freezing cold any day of the week as a runner than this crap we endure here every Summer.  I simply loathe the Summers here for that reason alone.

I still shake my head at the folks that wear capris, full shirts, long sleeves, whatever, if the temps are warm.  And by warm I mean over 70deg.  I realize that a lot of that is due to the self esteem issues and just not feeling comfortable with the exposure of whatever body type, but trust me you are more aware of it than anyone else around you is.  As much of an issue that I have when it comes to my own body image, that is just one thing I cannot do:  Wear clothing while running in any amount of heat.  It just boggles my mind how anyone does it.

Anyway, all this brings me to what I wanted to write about today, because a lot of boards/forums that I read I see countless people asking about how to dress for cold weather running/races. 

And to be honest its very subjective because just like every person handles the heat differently, so goes it with the cold. 

With me, generally it looks something like this:
  • 65deg and up = shorts and a jog bra sorta of top.  Sometimes I might wear a singlet but its rare.  And it won't be because its cold, its because I feel like something different and I know I won't self combust due to heat.
  • 55deg to 65 deg = shorts and a short sleeve shirt, but typically if its 60 I am still going with a jog bra top and a singlet. 
  • 40deg to 55deg = I am probably still going to be wearing shorts unless its windy, then I might wear capris just so my thighs don't get that numbing thing going on that the wind typically will do to me.  If I am running a marathon at that temp (40-45) no way in hell am I wearing capris.  Unless its brutal wind and the temp isnt supposed to rise much.  I will have on a short sleeve shirt if its a long distance (more than 10-13 miles) but if a short distance I might wear long sleeves.  I will typically start with gloves on but it won't last long as my hands heat up very quickly.  If its windy I will have earband on as well.
  • < 40 but > than 30 = I am probably going to wear capris.  I have been known to wear shorts at 40deg, but its for really long distance training run.  If its in the 30's, I will be wearing capri's, possibly full length pants depending on distance and I will have a long sleeve on.  Possibly 2 (short sleeve under), and will shed a layer if I get too warm and/or if the temps rise.  There will be gloves, there will be earband.
  • < 30 = If I can remember correctly I have only had to run 5 or so times when the temps were below freezing.  I definitely wore pants.  I definitely wore long sleeves and I definitely had more than one shirt on.  I will typically have 2 pairs of thin socks on as well.  There will definitely be gloves and earband.
    • I remember the weekend before Houston Marathon 2010, we had 8 miles to do and when Amber, Megan and I started it was 24deg or so and there was ice on the ground.  We had decided to start at 8am and do 8 miles on the cloverleaf.  My feet, even with 2 pairs of socks on, were like ice blocks and I barely could feel them.  I had 3 shirts on, a pair of pants, glove liners and gloves and of course an earband.  It was miserable.  :O)  And of course by the time the marathon rolled around 8 days later, it was warm again and it sucked.  :O)
I think the one mistake just about everyone makes (that hasn't figured it out yet), is to dress according to the end of the run rather than at the beginning.  If you are standing around waiting to begin a long run or a (long distance) race and you are warm?  Then guess what?  Your ass is gonna be hot by the end.  If you want to be warm at the start then dress in layers that you can remove easily and throw to the side.  Don't wear stuff you aren't going to be able to part with.  If you don't have anything like this, then go to Goodwill and buy some cheap long sleeves of some kind.  Hey even look in the mens and boys sections.  I have bought old sweats etc., because I didn't have anything in the pants area that I could feel ok with tossing.  Generally I will gut it out on the legs/pants thing because to me its not worth the trouble of crawling out of them with shoes on at any point.  I did at the start of NYC 2008 because I was out there for 3+ hours and you had time to get out of them waiting in the corral.

Here is what I typically suggest to anyone who asks:
  • Dress for 15-20 degrees Warmer:   Dressing for 15-20 degrees warmer than it is will allow foryour body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat.   You should feel chilled when you walk out the door.  If you are toasty warm, remove a layer.  Less is more.   Keep in mind though, this does not apply to any mileage under 8 or so miles.  If you are just doing a short 3 miler, its gonna be pretty much the same as when you start.  Your body isn't going to heat up that much in such a short period of time.
The one thing you will NEVER see me wear is hat while running (unless its raining or some sort of precipitation is falling down; its been known to snow/sleet here a time or 2).  However a hat is good for some that can tolerate it because it will help keep the warmth in your body since the majority of heat will escape from the top of your head.  This is also why I don't understand why people wear a hat in the Summer.  It does the same thing!  Keeps your insides boiling!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you must wear a hat in the Summer, might I suggest a visor instead? 

What advice do you have?  Do you hate running in the cold?  What is your typical attire on just an average day where you live (in the Winter)?  Are you too self concious to go the bare minimum when its a bazillion degrees outside?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Where I Went and Where I'm Going

Where I Went (last weeks training)

Monday -  6 miles    Check!
Tuesday -  Bikram - 90 minutes  Check!
Wednesday -  8 miles   Check!
Thursday -  Bikram - 90 minutes  Check!
Friday -  Rest Day  Check!
Saturday -   Long run - 20 miles  Check!
Sunday -   Recover  Check!

Where I'm Going (this weeks training)

Monday - 3 miles easy, 2 hot yoga classes  (3 hours worth! back to back), 2 mile trail run (with the Hashers)
Tuesday -  Hot yoga (90 Min)
Wednesday - 8 miles
Thursday - 4 miles
Friday - Rest Day
Saturday - 13 miles (cut back week); plan is to do the last 5 at goal marathon pace (10:18 or better)
Sunday - 4 miles

This Is Why I Love September

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kenyan Way Long Run - 20 Miles

If I could find a picture that had Rock Your Face Off, I totally would post it here.  :)

The alarm didn't even have the opportunity to go off this morning.  I was wide awake at 3:15 (I had one set for 3:30, the other for 3:45).  I got up and checked things out (bad cramps had started late yesterday afternoon), but we were good.  I had minor cramping when I woke up so I took some ibuprofen just to be on the safe side.

Honestly if I would have felt completely safe this morning, I would have been at base and ready to go at 4.  But I took my time getting ready and rolled up at 4:09.  I couldnt believe there were already 4 girls there and 2 more showed up as I was taking off.  I dont have the Garmin plugged in right now, so I dont know exactly what time I started but I am guessing it was about 4:20.

Temp: 79 degrees
Feels like: 79 degrees
Humidity:  I didnt even look because honestly I was so excited to see that the actual and the feels like was one and the same that I didnt even give a damn.  :)
At Mile 16 Coach told me the temp was 77/feels like of 77

There was a decent wind out (thanks TS Lee!), and it felt downright awesome.  After about a mile I had my groove and I couldnt even believe that by the time I finished 9 miles I was barely sweating and my shoes/socks were completely dry.  No need to switch out!  I had run up on CD when I was approaching base so she got some water, I took a gel and we headed out.

I was so happy about todays route.  It is definitely one of my favorites.  I dont care for the end of it as its that side of Memorial that I hate so much, but since they had it all torn up, we went down the AP side.  I was happy because by this time I was at mile 16 and the thought of running along there and that uphill on it, was not high on my list of things to do today.

I had a few GI issues today, having to make 3 stops to 'go', but thats not unusual when its TOM.

I started slowing a bit after that last water stop at Sabine but thats because I had to go so badly and I finally found a 'safe' place to go and I was back on track.

Honestly I am quite in shock at how well today went.  10-12 deg cooler, low humidity and a nice breeze will do wonders.  Once I got back to base I still needed 1.5 miles so I finished it out there around base and at the end of it?  Well I should have kept going and got that extra mile, but whatevs.  I was feeling at the top of my game and couldnt believe that I was still feeling as great as I was.

The whole run was just downright awesome.

Two weeks ago, my 19 miles turned into almost a death march.  There was so much walking in those last 6 or so miles it was just awful.  Today I finished 20 with more in the tank and I did 20 miles 11 minutes faster than I did 19.  I didnt feel like death and I also couldnt quit smiling.  It was just that good of a day where everything clicked and my head was totally in the game.  With each mile that I clicked off feeling just as strong as the last, my confidence grew and grew.

Overall pace was right at 10:40.  I am putting a W in the running column.  I only took 2 gels, minimal Gatorade (mostly water) and I think I only took 4 salt tabs.  Whats even weirder?  My shoes and socks were still dry at the end.  I definitely sweated out quite a bit, but clothes were nowhere near what they have been all summer, but I was covered in salt at the end.

So one more to go...22 miles in 2 weeks and I can only hope for a day with just as good of weather, if not better.  Next Saturday its an easy peasy 13 mile jaunt on the schedule.

How did your run go today!  Time to brag!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Weekend Motivation

You thought I forgot huh?  :)

Now go out, make it a GREAT weekend!  And you get an extra day!
Remember a body in motion, stays in motion!