Monthly Archives: January 2012

Week in Review – Week (-1), January 22

This was a pretty good training week, in all. I’ve struggled a lot with the evening runs, and the only way for me to get in four runs per week is to run at least one evening. I’m so tired and lethargic in the evening, and then when I do run it seems to prevent me from falling asleep. I suppose I should run on those nights I have a lot to do…then I could stay up and finish everything.

Monday – 10 min on the elliptical as a warmup, strength
Tuesday – 3 miles (29:00) on the indoor track
Wednesday – 3 miles (28:00) on the treadmill
Thursday – Rest Day (evening meeting would have prevented any workout anyway)
Friday – 3.1 miles (29:00) on the treadmill
Saturday – 8 miles (1:15:00) on the bike path
Sunday – Rest Day!

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the question

There’s one question that, as a first-time marathoner, I hate. And, of course, it’s one that I am asked, almost inevitably, the moment I mention that I’m soon starting up training for my first marathon. I dread the moment I say the word “marathon” because I have a pretty good idea what are going to be the next words out of the person’s mouth.

Let me preface this by saying that the people who ask me this are not those who barely run a mile. Nope. The people that ask this are the runners. The marathoners. The ones who should know better.

Here’s the question.

“So, what’s your goal time?”

The first time I was asked, I paused, thought a moment, and answered with, “I don’t know, I’ve never done it before. I guess my goal is just to finish.”

And then I got THE LOOK. The look that said “What? You don’t know? How can you train if you don’t know?”

I cringe just thinking about it.

The next time I was asked, I said it again. “My goal is just to finish. I’m sure in my training I will figure out a time that I expect to finish in, but I’m not setting a time goal.”

The third time, I realized that the people asking this question don’t want that answer. They want a number.

So I answered with, “Well, it would be great to finish in around 4:30. It seems reasonable given my half times.”

And instantly, I felt a sinking feeling in the bottom of my stomach. I had stated a time goal. This is something I hadn’t wanted to do. My goal in this marathon is to FINISH. Nothing more. I want to cross the finish line proud of myself, happy in my accomplishment. I do not want to look at my watch and think, “Well, crap. There went my 4:30. I’ve failed.” Or worse, I don’t want to be at mile 20, realize I am running behind my goal, and start to feel like quitting.

I’ve never been a quitter. And I don’t expect that will change in this race.

But, I can only imagine the things that may be running through my head at mile 22. I’ve heard some stories of people really being their own worst enemy on the course. I know this is going to be the single hardest experience of my life. I am pretty sure childbirth was a lot easier. I want to finish feeling good and proud of myself. Whether that’s in 4 hours, 5 hours, or even 6.

So I have decided I have a new goal, for all you future questioners out there.

My goal is to finish strong.
To finish on my feet.
To finish with a smile on my face.

To FINISH.

And the rest? Well, it will be whatever it will be. And I’m okay with that.

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I had an 8 mile long run in a layer of fresh snow this morning. It was sunny, windy (gusts up to 18mph), and cold (28*). It felt amazing. This was just the confidence boost I needed going into “week 0” of training this next week.


A part time job

I went to the gym this morning with the Peanut and the Monkey.  I have a limited amount of time at the gym in the mornings because the Monkey needs to nap.  This morning when dropping him off in the babysitting room he was already acting tired.  Couple that with the fact that I was already 15 minutes later than usual, and I knew my gym time was extra-limited today.  I wasn’t really feeling like running, but I have been wanting to do some strength training, so I decided to hit the weights for a while.

About 20 minutes into my workout I saw that an experienced marathon runner who is also a trainer at the gym was not busy.  I have been meaning to ask her whether the local running club is still getting together for early morning weekday runs.  So I walked over and started up a conversation.

10 minutes later, we were chatting about race fuel, the horrible awfulness of lemon-lime flavored sports drink, and long runs.  Oh, and race strategy, the appeal of running long runs with a group versus alone…well, you get the idea.  Before I knew it, the clock read 8:55 and I had to leave.

So, it was a short workout.

But during this conversation, she said something that stuck with me.  Actually, it terrified me.

She said, “Training for a marathon is like a part time job.”

This single statement scares me more than anything else that I have heard about the marathon.  Perhaps this is a sign of how naive I really am.

I know the marathon will hurt.  I don’t know how much, but I know it will hurt.

I know that the marathon will be long.  I don’t think I’ve mentally grasped how long, but at least I know.

I know that I will be running longer than I have ever run before.  I know that I’ll be heading out for 3-4 hour training runs on weekends.

There is so much that I have heard and read about training for and running a marathon that I guess I thought I was prepared for it.  Or at least prepared for the preparation.  Something like that.

But when she said that training was going to be like a part time job, something shook deep down in my soul.

Another job?

But I’m already a mother.  A wife.  An engineer.  A runner.  I already have a “day job.”  I volunteer for way too much (ask my husband).  Any given evening, you’ll find me stressed about how to split my time between the things I already have committed to and the things I want to do.  If you had asked me to take on a part time job, I would have laughed in your face and then shown you out.

But, according to her that’s exactly what I just did.  Took on another job.  And the more I thought about this the more it scared me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m committed, and I will do what it takes for the training.  But today, I had the first of what will probably be many “freak out moments.” One down, many to go.


Snowy Sundays

24 hours into this new blog, and I’m feeling a lot better about my decision.

I love writing.  I don’t often get a chance to spend much time really exercising my creativity.  I used to keep a journal.  I started journaling right before my second son was born.  I would spend a few minutes each night dedicatedly writing out what had happened that day, my hopes and dreams, whether I had exercised, basically whatever was on my mind.  I kept this up for three years.  It’s amazing to look back and have that record to remember what was going on in those days.  There are notes about my kids’ development – what they were saying, how they acted (the good and the bad).

And there are my personal highs and lows.  The first time I ran over six miles (a high!).

Then I found blogging.   I started a private family blog to document all those little moments of my children’s lives, just as they happened.  I was able to snap a picture, or a video and record a moment in minutes.  I could send a short email to the blog with something funny one of the kids just said – and it was there, frozen in time.

And my journal suffered.  I have written a few times in it, but long stretches of time pass without even a note. Each time I try to commit to writing for even 5 minutes a day, it lasts hardly a week (oh, who am I kidding? It doesn’t even last two days!)

I’m really looking forward to having this avenue for my thoughts, my dreams, and my running.

Which reminds me to get back to the running.  That’s why I’m here, anyway. 🙂

I put off my long(ish) run yesterday in lieu of a run today. The forecast was promising Sunday to be 10-15 degrees warmer, and, as Saturday was my husband’s morning to sleep in, I wouldn’t have been able to get out to run until almost 10 am anyway.  I’m a morning runner.  The closer I get to lunchtime, the worse I run.  So I bundled up this morning, and headed out for 6-7 miles.  Last week I was “supposed” to run 6 miles, but I had spent the weekend curled up in bed fighting the stomach flu.

It snowed on Friday, and so I knew my favorite running spot would be snow-covered.  I love running on the bike path, it is so peaceful and quiet.

I have been running in the New Balance Minimus since October or so.  I’ve really enjoyed using a more minimal shoe, but one of the drawbacks to this shoe is there is virtually no tread on the sole.  So I was really concerned that I would have a hard time running in the snow and ice with these shoes.

Photo courtesy Barefoot Angie Bee

I have a pair of YakTrax that I used consistently last winter.  With the NB being a more minimal shoe, I wasn’t quite sure how the YakTrax would fit on them.  Luckily, when I tried them on, they fit perfectly.  What a sigh of relief I had when I realized I wouldn’t have to dig out an old pair of shoes for today’s run.

NB Minimus Road with YakTrax

With my feet stable and my hands warm (I have a new pair of Pearl Izumi running gloves that I hadn’t yet been able to test out), I headed out.  It was a beautiful morning, cloudy and overcast.  I say beautiful, most others would probably say gloomy. The wind was whistling along at about 15 mph, right into my face.  The snow slowed me down a bit, which was probably good since I have been struggling to run the last few days (darn stomach flu).

I wore my headphones and listened to my favorite podcast, Geeks in Running Shoes.  Hmmm, the title of this blog is “Running Unplugged.” I can see I’m going to have to explain what the title of my blog means.  That’s a post for another day…

All in all, I ran six miles in just under an hour, with a 9:45 pace.  I felt good, strong, and comfortable.


what just happened?

What am I doing here?

Honestly.

What am I doing creating a blog about running?

There are literally hundreds, probably thousands, of blogs about running.  Yet today, in a moment of weakness, I created another one.  Another piece of worthless crap to add to the ever-growing pile of worthless crap on the Internet.

Maybe.

Or, maybe not.

I’ve held off creating a blog about running for so long now.  I figured, everyone else is already doing it, I have never been one to follow the crowd.  To do what’s popular.

But, I read so many amazing running blogs, and I get so inspired by them.  I see normal, everyday people running, racing, and LIVING.  And I see a community of running bloggers that I admire, respect, and (sometimes) emulate.

And, in just a few short weeks, I will begin training for my first.ever.marathon.

I decided I want to document this experience.  A way to capture the emotion, the pain, the journey.  And I am going to do this for myself.  Not for anyone else.  Just like I am doing the marathon for myself.  Not to win, not to beat a specific time, but to show myself I can.  I’ll write more about my goals for this marathon in upcoming posts.

And if someone wants to come along for the ride, so be it.


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