Friday, August 29, 2008

I've given in

And bought a running skirt. I've been eyeing them all summer and became more curious after Runner's World feature on the trend. So I finally gave in and bought the skirt I've been drooling over all season long. Drooling may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I have had my eye on it. I got the last one. It is slightly loose, but I think the spandex shorts underneath will be just fine. Just further proof that I am in love with the Champion line at Target. Almost all of my running clothes come from there -- and most from the sale racks!

Any of you run in skirts? What are your thoughts?

I'll let you know what I think after I try it out!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No need for.... speed?

On weeks that are free of tempo runs, one of my mid-week training days ends in speed/form drills. During a one-minute period, I run and gradually pick up pace until I'm essentially running all-out. Somehow I'm supposed to be thinking about form during all of this... A thirty second break and the cycle is repeated three additional times.

Speed drills are usually a necessary evil. The first two may be sort of fun, but after that it gets hard -- and, after all, I'm already tired from the 40-minute run.

Today the schedule fell so that Tiffany and I ran drills together. And it essentially felt like a game of tag -- mostly because Tiffany takes off in front of me, and I'm left to try and catch up! But something about the chase (and knowing it will only last a minute!) turns a routine drill into something fun and childlike. T zooms forward, so I surge to follow, thinking that SOME day I may just catch up. And then the minute is over, we recover and the chase begins again. I ALMOST caught her in drill 4. We were essentially running together, and when she noticed, she picked up the pace -- sadly, I was already running as fast as I found possible =0)

I've needed the play-like attitude of this week. I started this whole race-training thing because running is FUN. But somewhere amongst the schedules and early mornings, it finds a way to lose its appeal. Between puddle-jumping and unofficial games of tag, the fun has been renewed.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The Rookie Runner's rain motto should have been going through my head this morning. Unfortunately, I didn't think about it till my drive home -- and then I laughed. "I'm a duck. I'm a duck. I'm a duck. I'm a duck...."

This morning's tempo run left me drenched. While the sky was only spitting when we started, it was pouring by the time we made it very far. During the walk between the two tempo portions, we passed Jason, another member of the 5:30a.m. running group who merely said "You are stupid" as he passed by. I pointed out that he, too, was running in the rain -- of course, he WAS heading back toward the cars while Tiffany and I were still headed AWAY from the cars.

But there is something really fun about running in the rain -- even when forgetting the fun duck mantra. The childishness of splashing through puddles, of not caring about the sheets of water coming down. And since it was a tempo run, we got to run fast (well, fast for ME). The heavy breathing and warm face add yet another childlike quality to the morning. Days when you wear yourself out chasing after others in a game of tag. 

If only tempo runs didn't feel more like work than tag! But then, perhaps that is what the rain is for -- a reminder that this "work" is supposed to be fun, a form of play. After all, what can be more fun than listening to your double-layered wicking socks squish within your rain-pail shoes, while the rain in your face makes all the lights kinda hazy? 

Today I flap my wings and thrash my webbed feet through the puddles. And you'll hear me chant "I'm a duck. I'm a duck. I'm a duck. I'm a duck...." quack.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


With all the thought of actually training for the race, I must admit I've not been doing too well at raising funds for -- or awareness of -- World Vision. In fact, I'm really just no good at fundraising! Aside from a blog post here, a ticker on my facebook page and a signature in my "home" e-mail account, I really haven't made any efforts. Anyone have any tips on gaining sponsors?

World Vision is such a worthy cause, and I am truly proud to be running on their behalf. 

The ticker for my fundraising page is to the right if you wish to contribute =0) If you don't like the idea of giving money online, other arrangements could be made (I even accept spare change!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Broken dreams... or bones.

It shouldn't be too hard to believe that the Olympic event I was most interested in was the Women's Marathon. My main interest? Deena Kastor. I love Deena Kastor. My laptop's wallpaper is a photo of Deena during a tempo run. I find her both incredibly intriguing and motivating. 

The recent documentary "Spirit of the Marathon" included her in it's feature on the Chicago Marathon. She was warm, friendly and funny -- the sort of person you want to be friends with. At the same time, she is this elite distance runner with an insanely demanding training schedule. 

When I first saw the film, (in the beginning stages of training for my first half) I laughed as a massage therapist stretched her out after one of her training runs. "Oh, those silly elites," I thought, "won't even bother stretching on their own..." NOW, I get it. Reaching your toes becomes nearly impossible after long runs -- and I'm sure that goes double with the kind of training folks like Deena face.

ANYWAY, back to the Olympics... I wasn't able to watch. I was busy practically all day Saturday. Sunday morning, I started bugging everyone I saw. 
"Did Deena medal?" 
"Deena Kastor -- she's American."
"Uh, no, I don't think so..."

And then I started hearing sad reports.
"Yeah, one American had to drop out."
"It wasn't Deena Kastor, was it?"
"I don't know... might have been..."

It was. She apparently broke her foot. The report from her coach, Terrence Mahon (according to Runner's World): "Deena suffered a broken bone in the distal head of the 3rd metatarsal in her right foot. It is a clean break all the way through. The doctors did not have to set the bone since the X ray showed that it was lined up where it should be. They have immobilized her foot and she is now on crutches. We will do further tests when she returns home to the U.S."

The Runner's World report of the marathon mentioned that Deena limped away, wiping tears from her face. I wonder how many of those were pain related and how many were from dashed dreams at Beijing. To have trained so hard to end up injured around the 5k mark... 

May you have a quick recovery, Deena. The running community is cheering you on!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Countdown

12 weeks left. Two school grading periods. Two and a half months. The time has never seemed so short. In 12 weeks I will be in Springfield, toeing the line and praying to cross the finish. 

It's getting hard. I feel worn out. My body is rebelling. Most of it is probably my own doing. I'm scaring myself and wearing myself down by overanalyzing; by focusing on weeks I'm not on yet. 

I'm eating better this week, calorie counting again -- trying to stay between 1350-1700 per day. If I keep to that, with a good blend of multi-grain carbs and lots of fruits and veggies, I should feel better. 

Lynne and Bryan sent me links to a YouTube video full of motivational quotes. My favorite was one of Winston Churchill's. "If you are going through hell, keep going." It actually made me laugh because of the simple truth. 

When things get hard, it is so tempting to stop. But who wants to be STUCK in hell? Once I reach that starting line, the months spent running in hot and humid weather, in ill-fitted shoes and through bad days will be MORE than worth it. 

So here I am, continuing through hell for the right to line up on November 2. 

Friday, August 8, 2008

Along the journey

When people learn I'm training for a marathon, they often smile and say "wow, that's great! how long is a marathon?" When I smile back and respond "26.2 miles," their expressions immediately change from a nice, encouraging look to the ever-feared "are you out of your MIND!?!" face. I quickly assure them, "yes, actually, I am!"

I have days and weeks where I wonder what exactly it is that I'm doing. Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment -- but so are thousands of other things that I'm too sane to participate in.

SO, here's a list of some of the changes/things I've learned since training for scarily-long events:

1. I've developed a large collection (well, large to ME...) of perfectly good-looking retired running shoes.

2. While I still giggle when I hear the word "fartlek," I know what it means and its significance.

3. I know I'm capable of far more than I would have thought possible -- new challenges no longer scare me.

4. I am more likely to waddle up and down stairs due to sore muscles than I am to stop until I'm capable of breathing again.

5. I've learned that I have a really strange-looking gait. Why has no one ever told me I look ridiculous when I walk??

6. I recognize I look funny when I walk or run and don't care as long as I can keep going!

7. I get up earlier on Saturdays than I do on regular weekdays so I can run before the temps are too unbearable.

8. The alarm clock no longer terrifies me when it goes off before 5 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

9. I have more cravings for gatorade than any other non-water beverage.

10. I'm learning that there truly is a mental part of fitness that can carry me on past the state of total exhaustion.

11. You can develop more of a bond with a person while running miles 7 and on than you can in almost any other setting.

12. God really is awake before the sun comes up.

13. Hills are ALWAYS scary.

14. I can almost always run them IF someone else is running with me.

15. And somewhere along the line, I have learned to consider this "fun."

16. I am truly, without a question, insane.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Shoe Saga

Returned to The Starting Block yesterday to see what options I had for inserts or another pair of shoes. After another fitting and the consulting of three staffers (including co-owner Amy), I'm back in the Asics 2120s with heat-molded ArchMolds

I also learned that while Asics HAS done away with the 2120s, the 2130 is essentially the same shoe. So I can stick with my old friends for awhile =0)

I'm hopeful this will solve my blister problem. I kept getting "wow, this IS bad" as a comment from the salespeople! 

Guess I'm now ready to tackle Saturday's 10-miler!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Trail of Spuds?

On Saturday morning's long run, as we approached the hill I've dubbed "Mount Moriah," I noticed a potato lying in the middle of the trail. Tiffany didn't notice it, and as it was incredibly humid and I was sweating buckets and trying to ignore the pain from my blister, I thought maybe I was hallucinating ;0)

Not so. As we walked back (T was kind enough to walk with my on the return trip, as I decided it was dumb to keep running with my foot the way it was -- it was a low mileage week for a reason... didn't want to make things worse for the 10-miler this next Saturday), realized it was definitely a potato. No idea what it was doing on the trail. 

Guess someone decided they would need the carbs before the hill on their next run =0)

On the blister note, I've found coating the site in chafing cream and wrapping with an Ace bandage has helped a LOT. Tuesday evening, I'm heading back to Columbia, so I plan to stop in at Starting Block and see what options I have for shoe inserts... I'm hoping there is an easy solution. And unless I hear otherwise, I'm going to switch back to the Asics 2120s for the rest of marathon training. I think the Mizunos have caused more trouble than help. Plus, since the 2120s are being retired, they are REALLY cheap these days!