A runner’s paranoia …

I’m sure that most people who don’t run don’t have a clear understanding of the Marathon Training Taper. If you aren’t in a personal relationship (of any kind) with a runner during this time period, consider yourself lucky. If you are, know that I think you are one brave soul.

I’ve mentioned before that the actual taper involves a significant decrease in running miles so that legs have time to repair and get stronger. Again, there is a science to all of it. I don’t completely get it, but I believe in it.

There is a whole other aspect to tapering that is also coinciding with your muscles healing and getting stronger. To put it bluntly. Some of us runners lose our ever lovin’ minds.

It’s a time when the runner fear meter goes off the chart. Every ache and pain is a fracture. Every sniffle and sneeze is a life threatening illness. You are convinced that Mother Nature and her wicked weather patterns are clearly out to get you. You are sure alarm clocks won’t work, cars won’t start, Garmins will die and shoelaces will break. And you know that food poisoning is just one swallow away.

Yup. That pretty much sums it up. At least, for me.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you aren’t paranoid!!!

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Bored … 

I’ve decided to get my miles done on the stationary bike to give my legs and back some extra rest during my taper. I am so thankful for the stationary bike. You have to triple the miles to mimic running miles but it allows you to keep training your legs without all the pounding. Cycling on the stationary bike got me through marathon training in the past … when I had a broken foot! It works and it’s a godsend. But I forgot one unpleasant thing about these indoor, not going anywhere miles. Yup, one.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you aren’t bored to tears!!!

$#!% just got real …

I know I’ve been training, but I still find my upcoming race a bit surreal. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far. Being sick is so fresh in my memory. Heck, I don’t even feel completely like myself yet. But here I am. Less than three weeks until race day. WOW. Today I even received a race day information email. HOLY MOLY. That certainly drove home my reality. Whoa.

Well, I hope you all have a day where $#!% just got REAL!!!

Feeding the beast …

I have worked out since I was 12 years old. Even the two-ish years I was recovering from a back injury I still did the minimal exercises my doctor gave me to do. Incidentally, during that time period I also learned how to juggle scarves. Go me. But I digress.

Back to my point. I have worked out a lot of years and I have never (and I mean NEVER) had any type of training awaken so much hunger than marathon training. It’s ravenous and it comes on fast! I must feed it quickly, or boy oh boy, do I get HANGRY! And I am not one to bite or growl but I wouldn’t even try to take my food away once I’ve started eating, HA!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are beastly!!!

Better planning …

Yesterday morning before school we were discussing how it was already the first day of May. WOW! Then G3 told me that this would be his last full month of high school. WOW, WOW! Within about 8 seconds I went from being super excited for him to a tearful over-emotional mom. Overwhelmed, I sat there trying to figure out how my baby boy turned into a young man who was ready to take on the world, in what feels like, the blink of an eye. Oh yes, I was emotional. Again.

I am at the end of my marathon training schedule. In less than one month I hope to be standing on a start line I never though I’d make it to. It’s been a journey, to say the least.

At the end of a marathon training is something called “a taper”. It’s when your running schedule goes from high to low. From 20-mile long runs to 8-9 mile long runs. It’s a huge difference. There’s a science to all of it that I don’t completely understand, yet I trust it. In simple terms, it’s the time period when your muscles heal and strengthen so that you can be in the best shape possible for race day. Well, that’s the idea anyway. Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? NOPE. At least not for me.

I’d bet that if you asked most distance runners their opinion of THE TAPER you would get some pretty negative responses. Paranoia of injury increases. Patience is at an all time low. And moods are like a yo-yo. Fun stuff to be around … if you like misery!

I bring all this up because this morning I realized that I will be tapering just as I am watching my son go through his last full month of high school. Oh dear lord in Heaven. What was I thinking? Clearly, I wasn’t. 

Well, I hope you all have a day where you do some better planning!!!

That hot, hilly, and windy 20-miler was so much fun (said no runner ever) …

Today I ran my 20-miler. I have been physically and mentally preparing for it all week. This is a big one. Huge. I couldn’t wait to get it under my (fuel) belt. And then I woke up.

I woke up to the sound of wind. As I started to get ready I realized the wind wasn’t letting up, so I checked the weather report. High wind advisory. SWELL. I already knew I would be racing against time to avoid the heat, which wouldn’t be an easy battle because I mapped out 10 miles of hills for myself. Wind was not going to make anything easier. Not. At. All. But I laced up and got out there anyway. Somehow I survived and lived to write about it. Here’s how it all went down:

Mile 1: The wind appears to have died down. Run woman run!

Miles 2: I was wrong … the wind did not die down.

Mile 3: Suspicious stranger sighting. I’m glad I have my pepper spray but with all the wind I figure using it could backfire. I determine I can out run him. My paranoia subsides.

Mile 4: My left hamstring woke up and is pissed we aren’t still in bed. I also come to the realization that everyone in my neighborhood is still asleep. I am overwhelmed with jealousy.

Mile 5: 10,000 steps. Whatever Fitbit, whatever.

Mile 6: Gusts. I hate them and all the debris that comes with them. Ouch.

Mile 7: I wonder why I didn’t register for the Donate Life 5k that is this weekend. It’s practically in my backyard. Then I realize I would have had to run it over 6 times to get all my miles in. I calculate 6 race entry fees. I am happy I can still do simple math. This skill will be dead to me soon.

Mile 8: Cyclists pass me. I notice all their butts. I conclude that my butt is too big to fit on a bike seat.

Mile 9: The downhill. This is just mind trickery to build my confidence … the REAL hills are coming.

Mile 10: I’m at the gates of Hell. Let the hill repeats begin.

Mile 11: Branches are falling from the trees. Sure let’s make this a terrifying obstacle course too. Because I obviously need THAT in my life.

Mile 12: Blood, sweat and gagging. I REALLY hate hills. Oh and MORE WIND.

Mile 13: If wind was a person I would call it a bad name … and punch it in the throat.

Mile 14: I’m pretty sure everything is chapped.

Mile 15: What fresh hell is this?

Mile 16: Pulling out the big guns. Electrolytes with extra caffeine. This will either get me to the end of this run or give me a heart attack. At this point I see it going either way. 

Mile 17: A brief encounter with feeling TOTALLY BITCHEN. In your face haters. I GOT THIS.

Mile 18: BITCHEN feeling gone. I start my run home. I remember that it’s uphill. I am running into the sun and have a constant headwind. I cry a little and question my sanity.

Mile 19: My ability to do simple math is gone. Everything hurts. I am pretty sure running is very bad for you.

Mile 20: DONE. Elated and thankful. It is over. I did it. And I am pretty sure that once the feeling of wanting to throw-up leaves my body I will want to eat my weight in donuts.

The 20 miler. Even under the best of circumstances I have never found this distance easy. Today was unbelievably hard. It beat my tush. But I have learned over the years that if I try hard enough I can find humor in even the most difficult runs. I gotta say, I like that about myself.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you laugh yourself through some tough times!!!

Foam rollers, no pain, no gain …

I’m in training for the Clif Bar Mountains 2 Beach Marathon. Needless to say I’ve been getting a lot more miles logged on my legs. Not more than I’ve ever done before, just more than the past 4 months have allowed. It feels great to be back at it. But it also freaking hurts! Seriously. Everything from the middle of my back to the tips of my toes is in pain on some level.

I think marathon training is a lot like having a baby. You forget that the actual physical experience can be UGLY. One way I combat my soreness is using a foam roller. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a foam roller is, I’ll explain. It’s a modern day torture device used by athletes that I’m sure has its’ origin from some time during the Spanish Inquisition. OK, fine … I am joking. But it feels that way. It is so painful to use but it does have a purpose. Here’s what came up when I googled:

“Foam rollers are exercise devices used for massage and fitness. … When used for self-massage, they help soothe tight, sore areas (known as “trigger points”) and speed up muscle recovery. This process of rolling out tight muscles and relieving tension is also called myofascial release.”

OK, so basically you roll yourself out like dough and it’s supposed to be really good for your muscles. Think along the line of necessary suffering. And by suffering I mean it hurts like hell. HELL HELL. Like even Satan questions whether these things are ethical to use. These beasts hurt but I’ll admit that they certainly do help. Once you get past all that wincing and sobbing.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you have an intimate understanding of “no pain, no gain”!!!