"It doesn't matter...how many people have tried it before; it's important to realize that whatever you're doing - it's your first attempt at it."
For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.
Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.
I'm sooooo not going to be able to do Race to Wrigley justice. But there's no way I'll be able to blog about it on my roadie, so I'll do a quick recap before heading to dreamland.
I stayed with my bestest friends ever Monica and Tim down in Hoffman Estates, IL so I didn't have to get up at 4am to drive from Milwaukee to Chicago this morning ;) They treated me like a QUEEN for the short 18ish hrs I was in town. We had mostacciolo, spinach feta almond salad, and garlic bread for dinner MMM! And then I tried going to bed early but we got distracted by Facebook Cat Nipple Hilarity WHOOPS! Got to bed between 11 and midnight and awoke to the sound of a 5:30am alarm yippie!!
After picking up some Starbucks, and poppin' in some Luda, Monica drove us to Wrigleyville and we found FREE parking right by the race yippie again!!! We hung out in the car for awhile because it was pretty chilly but NOT raining HOORAY! We took some photos [insert here] and Monica gave me a hug, wished me luck, and sent me on my way.
As a diehard Cubbies fan, I was SUPER excited about running in Wrigleyville! I was totally amped for the start! Now with 8,300+ people (a record!!) at this race, I'm gonna tell you it was pretty congested and congested the entire time. But I won't try and use that as an excuse for my shitty results. Oh wait I think I just did. No but seriously, it really does take a lot of EXTRA work when you're dodging and sprinting around people and cones. I think that's what wore me out so quickly. I just could NOT go faster no matter how hard I tried and my lungs burned?? I've felt this way during my other two runs this week too. Like I couldn't get enough air in my lungs and it hurt breathing.
I reeeeeally wanted to get under 27, and when I looked down at my watch at 26:30 with a little over block left to go, I knew, even if I sprinted, it wasn't going to happen. But that's ok because I ran inside the concourse of Wrigley Field and THAT is flipping awesome!
Monica yelled "GO KATIE!!!" really loud as I sprinted in. Meanwhile I "raced" this chick in a green shirt next to me and "won" haha ;) And then she said: "I ran behind you the whole race...thank you so much for pushing me!" WOW! I need to dwell more on cool stuff like that instead of being so self absorbed SHEESH KATIE!!!!
I grabbed my Gato and naner, found Monicat, and chatted about the race for a bit. We tooled around this make-shift Cubs Shop next to all the race stuff, and OMG she bought me a Cubbies shirt as a "congrats"?!?!?!? BESTEST FRIEND OF ALL TIME!! I was like, "no no, what do you mean?!" And she said she was inspired by me and really proud! AGAIN...less self absorption Katie, honestly!
So that rocked...we headed back to the car and had an awesome time chatting on the 30+ minute ride back to H.E. Seriously, of all the parts of the day, my favorite was the ride to and from the race in the Ion with Monica :) So cozy!!! Then I, Monica, Tim, and their nearly one year old daughter Addison Grace (as in Wrigley Field streets Addison and Grace haha!!) piled into the car and headed to Panera for post-race yumminess. They treated me too! AWWW!
So yeah, while I'm going to stop focusing so much on negativity (especially considering how awesome it felt to have such a great friend in my corner), I DO want to turn this into a fuel burning inspiration to get back into my good running days. My 5K PR is 25:30 which is crazy for someone like me. I want to get back there. I just need to add the interval type training back into my routine (which is exactly what got me that PR last year). But I need to stop talking about it and start DOING it.
But in May. Haha! Tomorrow at 7am I will officially embark on my road trip to San Bernardino and back! All car. No legs. Haha! May will hopefully be a rockin' runnin' month. Especially considering the fact that I ran six times in April SIX!!!! And two of them were races!!! What the heck?
Speaking of 7am it's currently 11pm...TO BED I SAID!
No, not the controversy regarding the fact that I FINALLY ran yesterday...the first run since the Half...ouch :) I'm talking about the controversy surrounding listening to music during races, or even running in general. Yesterday, while researching the volunteer opportunities for Milwaukee's Lakefront Marathon this October, I stumbled upon the story of one of the runners from last year getting DQ'd for wearing headphones during a couple miles of the marathon (against the rules if you're an elite runner racing for the cash).
I then stumbled upon See Dane Run's blog where he discusses his personal distaste for running with music. What struck me, however, was that he used to like to listen to music on runs...that he "understands the allure." This got me thinking about the gray area inside the two opposing groups, To iPod or Not To iPod?
I've mentioned my running music story before over at Mag's blog, but to recap: because my old iPod pussed out on me, and because of running in the city at night, I stopped listening to music on my runs. And after the first couple times, I didn't even notice anymore. And I wasn't any faster or slower without the music either.
I do love music, however. At work, I'm usually headphones-on, and I'm that girl you hate who rolls her eyes when she has to take them off ;) I exchange new music with my indie-loving coworkers, but I love everything from Pink Floyd to the Dorsey Brothers, from Fleet Foxes to the Presets, from Simon & Garfunkel to Jay Z. Thus, I wondered if I'm supposed to be equally obsessed with listening to music while I run. As you know, I got my new iPod, loaded it up, and even made a specific playlist for my Half. This race, however, was actually an interesting test and confirmed a few things I was starting to realize about running and music:
1. It can be distracting, but in a bad way, oddly enough. While I loved the music when I first started, and I loved singing along to parts of songs that totally amp me up (looking at you Lady Gaga), which DID give me a burst of energy, I have to admit that for the last 3-4 miles of the Half, the music started to annoy me. Like parts of songs I wasn't as into made me more frustrated than usual, if that makes any sense. And when that happened, I kinda lost focus on the race itself.
2. MOST of my small handful of races have been iPod free. And I do remember how I liked hearing the variety of breath patterns and pattering of running shoes and along the pavement. It felt like a race rather than a training run. Don't get me wrong, the Half felt like a race. But I was definitely in a little cocoon-like iPod "pod"...aware of my surroundings, but focused more inward to the music, as opposed to outward at the race.
3. While I made sure I thanked/waved/smiled/thumbs up'd almost all the volunteers at the Half, I didn't necessarily hear their cheers with my music on. Normally the races I run aren't that packed with spectators, but if there are spectators, I'd hate to look like I was ignoring their praise with my earbuds planted firmly in place. They took time out of their morning to cheer us on, the least we can do is be grateful and give them a nod of appreciation, right?
4. Maybe I am loosing out on an opportunity to be quiet and one with my thoughts when I listen to music. I certainly remember appreciating sights and sounds when I'd run without it. In fact, I'd often try to look for funny observances that I'd relay back on this blog when I'd run sans iPod.
With all this said, however, I will admit a gray area. There are runs you just don't feel like doing and music definitely helps give a much-needed boost. I also admit that podcasts are a cool way to learn while running. As I've mentioned previously, This American Life has opened my eyes to a lot about our world, which is never a bad thing! Especially when you've got two hours of running ahead of you. Music can be a distraction from pain and I did use it to escape from the havoc inside my body during the 14 mile training run.
At the end of the day, I guess you just have to go with how you're feeling. While I think it's important to experience a musicless run from time to time, especially if you're a. running in nature (to experience those unique sounds), b. running in the city (to be safe), and c. running in a race (to appreciate the runners and spectators around you). I also think music can help during training, especially if you have to run the same route over and over and need SOMETHING to liven the experience.
I encourage you to read the comments at Dane's blog to see what a lot of other non-music runners have to say on the topic. It definitely made me think about leaving the iPod at home more often...especially for races!
I'm not running, or doing any workouts until Saturday. So that's a whole week, exercise free! I really got burnt out back there...not physically, but mentally. If I hadn't dealt with the flu thing, I'm sure I'd feel different. But with all the anxiety surrounding everything, I was like I. NEED. A. BREAK. And here I am :)
Not only am I not working out this week, but I've been eating like a banshee!! After being sickened by food for 4-5 days, when I got my appetite back, I got it with a vengeance! So far this week I've had super fatty pizza, Girl Scout cookies galore, Ben & Jerry's (ok it was Half Baked Fro-Yo, so not actually TOO awful), mini Reese's eggs, and a burger/pasta salad/taco dip/loads of banana cream pie during today's work luncheon. Tomorrow I'm heading down to a rooftop game at Wrigley for work and I can't even imagine what greasy treats await me there!! Plus cookout food and fatty Italian restaurant yumminess this weekend!!! mmmmmmmmmmmmMMMM!!!!
It's fun to not care for a little bit. I promise to get back on track next week :)
The funny thing is, I'm taking another vacation in a week and a half. As this vacation is a road trip along Route 66, this will take place predominantly in the south/southwest...home of lip smackin' ribs, juicy steaks, greasy diners, and scrumptious Mexican delights! And I highly doubt I'll be in the mood to run around in the Mohave Desert when I've been cooped up in a car for 6-12 hours at a time! I'll swim in the motel pools, yeah that'll be my exercise ;)
Anyway, the month of April is going to be a bit of a wash, but I've got a race on the 24th and another one mid-May, so slacking isn't really an option. Feeling like a massive lump on a log will be fuel to the fire when I come back from vacation! Sometimes I think we all need a little R&R. Not the kind where we let things fall by the wayside because those are a little depressing and only make us feel worse. But the kind of R&R you actually decide to take...and has a relatively scheduled beginning and end :)
Alright, that's all I got today! Oh I signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon on Sept 12th so I can be cool and actually have a fun medal and tshirt!!! ANYONE who reads this who wants to run it, LET ME KNOW!!! We'll meet up and get this thing DONE!
To begin: You wanna know what my goal for this year was? To run a 15K (9.3mi) in the fall. And that was a pretty lofty goal in my mind. I mean I was going to work all summer on it. But then competition reared its not-so-ugly head and I was suddenly smack dab in the middle of some good ol' fashioned half marathon trainin'.
I think I experienced every positive emotion there is to experience yesterday. Confidence: As I crawled out of bed at 6am feeling so sketchy, but officially making the call to race. Calm: When I sat cross-legged on the grass centering myself in the sun. Excitement: As everyone gathered on the lake path while the seconds were counting down to 8:30.
Sheer Giddy-ness: When I took my first few long strides and Junior Boys' "FM" poured through my headphones. Awe: As I came up to the halfway marker and the clock said 1:05. Pride - In Others: When I watched walkers struggling, but digging deep to strike up a jog again. Blessed: For the gorgeousness of the day and the route...the crystal blue lake, and the golden light streaming through the treetops. RELIEF: When the finish line came into view! Pure Unadulterated GLEE: Seeing my family. Seeing the clock. Putting up the horns. Sprinting to beat Two Hours and Fifteen Minutes.
THANKFULNESS: To have finished.
Now for the nitty gritty... So I went back to work following the Day Of Sick, felt strong at the beginning, but steadily lost steam as the day wore me down. Anything I ate (namely tomato soup and Saltines) sat in my stomach like a brick of nausea. All I wanted to do at 5:00 was go home and take nap. Instead? My car took a nap in the form of a dead car battery WEE! And after roadside assistance dude charged it up and I got my battery replaced at Firestone in the burbs, I finally got home at 8:30 bleh. Just enough time to whip up some tasteless, saltless, butterless noodles and a pouch of tuna. Seriously was the grossest meal ever and not the "carb load" yummy meal I had envisioned weeks ago. But it was quick, easy, and mild. Still sat in my stomach until the next morning :( At least I had Twister. Chris bought me Twister at Target for $5 because he knew it was my favorite cozy calming movie :) Perfection!
Ok fast forward to the race. All the lovey dovey wonderfulness aside, it definitely wasn't an easy feat. The first half was good, great really. I was running almost exactly 10 minute miles which didn't feel too fast or too slow. It felt refreshing. All I could handle for breakfast was one waffle--and with the total of like 600 calories from the day before, plus zero calories from Sick Day, the gel I had around mile 4 was MUCH needed. After mile 7, I felt the wall approaching and approaching quickly. Nausea came on and the last thing I wanted was a gel, but I knew I had to take it. Luckily it didn't make me feel sick (yay Hammer!!) and helped tremendously for the remainder of the race. What helped most of all? WATER! I carried my Fuel Belt bottle and refilled it at every water stop...mmm glorious water! Especially in the hot sun!
Everything after mile 10 was kind of a blur; at that point, I had to switch into mind mode because my body was pretty pissed at me. Oddly enough the parts of my body that hurt were NONE of the parts that hurt during my training (i.e. knees, hips, CALF MUSCLE). The two things that hurt the most were the sides of my two big toes (from blisters that had formed) and my ass??? Like the muscles inside? So bizarre and something I had never felt before! I will say that I really...really........REALLY wanted to walk. I wanted to walk SO badly. Especially when I saw other walkers. Ahhh yeah that looks so refreshing! There was this one older guy who would run, then walk, so I'd pass him. Then he'd start running again and pass me. And repeat. This happened maybe eight times and it kinda drove me nuts because it was like passing the same landmark over and over! Like I was running in a loop! In any case...I didn't walk. I just couldn't do it. (Mostly because I knew it'd be too hard to start up again!)
The last 1.1 was redonkulous. Very much "one foot in front of the other" without anything else entering my mind. I saw the finish line down the path hill, "hit restart," took a photo of myself with my phone (took it along in case I passed out somewhere along the route!), hunkered down, and focused on the glorious bright orange cones ahead of me.
As I neared the end, I scanned the crowd for my family. I finally saw their [probably shocked?? ha!] faces, threw up the horns, and sprinted to the finish. My official race result time was 2:15:07, but I sprinted for a reason and that was to BEAT the impending 2:15 on the clock haha! My watch said 2:14:58 ;) But 2:14, 2:15, either way that is friggin redic. How this happened I'll never know.
Anyway, as I've mentioned this race was very bare bones. No medals like most people get who run Halfs (and Fulls obvi). Not even a cheap cotton tshirt. I paid $10 and got my bid number. But for some reason, I really liked it this way. The volunteers were super sweet, always ready with water cups, and cheered for everyone. The light smattering of spectators also cheered for everyone, not just their family/friends. It was a small and humble race. But this felt just right as this race--and more specifically this week--was honestly one of the most humbling experiences I've ever had. I was knocked down right at the very end of my training, and it made me realize how I don't have complete control over everything. All I have is, well, what I have. In this case it was three months of training and my glutton for punishment attitude. Oh and, above all else, a HELLA lotta freaking awesome people in my corner. Everyone that wished me better, wished me good luck, told me I'd kick ass, and sent FB msgs and txts, (i.e. the best fam and friends a girl could ask for, Chris, Tamra, CLAIRE WHO KILLED HER HALF YESTERDAY AND SHE RULES, etc etc etc)...well, I couldn't let them down now could I? ;)
In conclusion? I feel like CRRRRAP today. I was sick to my stomach virtually the entire day following the race, so I couldn't eat anything. I managed a large pretzel and a Bloody Mary :) but that's it. Normally I'd dive face first into a pile of greasy lip smackin' wings, but the thought of any foods made me want to vom. So I pretty much didn't scoop up my lost calories. OH WAIT I had some gulps of honey while sitting in a tubful of icy water when I got home? Today my muscles are so sore I can barely walk, and I still can't eat without getting sick at the thought of food. But how did I really expect to feel right? ;)
Let's wind down this epic post with some photos of how hilariously crappy I look, shall we????
Am I crying? Am I going to toss my cooks? WHO KNOWS?!
Such concentration on the pain!
Aww FAM!!!! I look weird because I'm trying not to offend my boyfriend with my stench.
The guy who started it all, my runner step-dad. And it was his 49th birthday no less!!!
Ok THAT is all I got (REALLY Katie? Are you sure that's ALL you got?) Pshhh. Until, wait for it.....NEXT TIME :)
bib number: 2319 age: 30 overall place: 657 out of 836 division place: 38 out of 64 gender place: 236 out of 360 time: 2:15:07 (but in MY mind 2:14:58 HA) pace: 10:19 ~link to my stats
Now while I've received more than my fair share of the stomach flu in my day (I typically get it once a year for some stupid reason), what are the odds I'd get it this week of all weeks?! Well I guess 1/52 which are pretty good odds. But still!! When I was awoken by a very angry belly at around 3:30-4am yesterday, I thought to myself: you have GOT to be kidding me. I tried to pass it off as anxiety and told myself to just calm down. But I recognized the feeling there in the pit of my stomach, and I knew there was no stopping this beast. From that point on, I was up every half hour on the half hour relieving myself via any orifice that beckoned. At some point, leaning over the porcelain throne in agony, I had to laugh. To think how freaked out I was over a little calf twinge, here I am expelling all my calories and fluids just in time to run for two and a half hours or so, when I need these things the most.
Today is Major Recovery Day. I'm drinking Gatorade and water, and trying to eat food. I just don't feel like eating. The thought of food disgusts me. But I just have to force it down. As for tomorrow. It truly is a waiting game. Yesterday I lied on the couch all day in a pool of sweat and every bone in my body ached in sharp throbbing pain. When I woke up this morning I already felt worlds better. Perhaps I'll feel even better tomorrow morning. I won't know until I wake up and get to the starting line.
As anyone who knows me knows: I am a glutton for punishment. I'll put my body and psyche through the ringer if I feel like I'll learn something from it. This will be one of the bigger physical tests that I'll ever have to endure (aside from maybe childbirth and a full marathon, if either of those are actually in my future). But we'll see. While it goes against every fiber of my being, I can always just "go slow"...and just really try to finish. Like I said. We'll see.
In any case, well I worked on the following earlier this week, still under full impression I was going to run this race. I got the idea from a fellow run-blog buddy, Maggie, who ran her first Half back in February. When I read her post, I fell in love with the idea, and had to be a big fat copy cat :) So I may or may not run or finish this race tomorrow, but the thing is, like 99% of a Half Marathon is the training that goes into it. And for the last 12 weeks, that's all I have lived, ate, and breathed...Half Marathon training. The race is the final show, yes. It's the Big Performance to show off what I've done these past 12 weeks. But not making it to the final show doesn't slight the training by any means. So whether or not I run or finish the race tomorrow, I would still like to dedicate each of the 13.1 miles to all the things and people that made TRAINING for this Half possible.
Mile 1:Mapmyrun.com + Purple Watch - for an easy way to keep track of my routes, mileage, and average minute miles that I hold so dear! Hey, it's a cheap way to be a distance runner without a Garmin :) Mile 2:Google - for all my information cravings...from organizing this whole Half training operation from the get-go, to researching water bottles and compression shorts, to finding ways to strengthen and cross-train, to figuring out how I should be eating (also see #8!) Mile 3:My sister - for taking up running again and being a full-circle inspiration, as while she took a hiatus, her first 5K was what inspired me to run in the first place! (She also left work early yesterday to bring me Feel Better Flowers, the sweetheart!!) Mile 4:My mom - for talking me off the ledge this week (back when it was only my stupid calf that was freaking me out). And in case I can't run, she came up with this SUPER sweet idea of putting on a "personal" Half race where she would give me water at different stops, and even have beer waiting for me at the finish line. WOW!!! Best mom ever. Mile 5:My step-dad - for his always helpful advice and encouragement and for getting back out there after many, many weeks of injuries!!! He ran a marathon awhile back and had a horrible experience with cramping and such. So he knows my thought process right now...the disappointment I'm dealing with. Mile 6:Chris, my wonderful boyfriend - txting me "I hope your run went well today" while I was out there and he was at work, giving me massages, listening to my rants and reassuring me it'll all work out, and above all else, saying he's really looking forward to this race. For some reason that really hit me...that he's very proud of his little Gazelle :) Mile 7:Tamra - for always taking an interest in how my training was going, asking me about my long weekend runs, and "stroking my wiener" on FB ;) I love how hardcore she is about running, but also how humble she is. Mile 8:My sister's boyfriend Nate - for opening my eyes to the kinds of foods I should be eating and WHEN I should eat them. I already see a huge difference! Mile 9:must-run.blogspot.com - I don't know where'd I'd be without a venue for my running rants and epic thought processes!! I do tend to ramble, but it helps me organize my mental state. Running can make a gal crazy, and it's nice to regurgitate the crazy back out into cyberspace! Mile 10:My blogging buddies!! - It's also nice to know there are a few people out there, people I don't even know personally, who actually identify with me. I'm SURE my non-running friends can get a little sick of Running This and Running That, so it's nice to have these running pals to correspond with...namely Maggie, one of a few people who inspired me to run this Half Marathon :) and CLAIRE who is running HER Half tomorrow too!!! GAH GOOD LUCK LADY!!!! Also anyone else who stumbled upon this stupid blog and leaves their two cents! Mile 11:My non-running friends :) - For LISTENING to all the Running This and Running That, when it's probably really boring haha!! But if I've inspired any non-runners or on-hiatus-runners to get in the game, then that's just plain awesome!!! Mile 12:Orange Bomb - A late entry as I didn't use him until Week 8! But helpful nonetheless, especially when I was dying on my 14 miler. I'm sure he'll come in very handy during the race :) (Especially when my body really wants to shut down) Mile 13:Everything else that's going with me on this race - From my Asics and my bad knees, to my pigtails and my stupid calf muscle. From my shorts that ride up and my favorite sports bra, to my Hammer Espresso Gels and Fuel Belt bottle. From my flu-ridden body and the fears in my brain to the power of mind-over-matter and the smile on my face, we'll all be there front and center, ready to attack this thing. Mile .1:Myself - Yep I get the little ol' tenth of a mile I am dedicating to little ol' me, but honestly, that's the hardest and best part of the Half. As I always say, I love sprinting to a finish line, whether it be real or imaginary, and this race will be no exception. IF I GET THERE......That tenth of a mile will be absolutely be my happiest and most deserving moment. And this big old baby will undoubtedly shed a few tears when the Twelve Week Journey comes to an end*.
*Whether that "end" is actually crossing the finish line or only making it 3 miles into the race, I know deep down in my heart that I tried and gave this thing my all. Life is far from perfect and putting all of one's eggs in a single basket--aka Race Day--puts a lot of pressure on a person to try and MAKE that basket perfect. Odds are it ain't gonna happen. All I can do is stay positive and hope for the best.
This blog is about my goals and my fears right? My ups and downs? Well for the past few days, I can't help but get this psychic flash to me on Saturday afternoon typing "Running FAIL" into my FB status :'( I am completely freaking over here, and for really no reason at all. I'm basically being a big fat baby about the whole thing.
It started with my feeling "off"...that "funk" I was talking about in the last post. For the past few days, I've felt this yuck coursing through my veins. Now not to get all TMI, but this was the week of the the Big P. Not necessarily the best thing to happen the week before a big race. Anyway, as my sweet, sweet boyfriend pointed out to me last night, my body's been expelling some pretty crucial stuff, iron being the main component. Even a minor iron deficiency would explain my fatigue (sleeping in till 10:30 and still feeling out of it??), as well as my mood swings and blahness. I bet I was already on the road to deficiency (I sound like such a delinquent!) Maybe I really wasn't getting enough iron? My protein comes from chicken, fish, nuts, and beans, which are good sources, but not like red meat, or apparently oysters would be. And I sure as heck didn't eat enough spinach and vitamin C to help with iron absorption. Being a longer distance runner now, the extra muscle gain and pounding the pavement (breaking blood vessles), is probably causing me to lose more iron than I was before my mileage started adding up. Add insult to injury with the Big P, and Katie, you've got yourself a Big P-Roblem.
Anyway, there's nothing I can do about that now, and being at the end of my Bye Week, I'm already recharging my "supplies" so to speak (I know I know GROSSSS). But this is definitely a lesson learned.
What do I do in the meantime? Well I don't run apparently. See, Problem B is this calf thing I've got going on. There's this "knot" type feeling in the space between my ankle and calf, on the side. I mean it feels just like when you have a knot in your back. I've iced it and rubbed it gently (gave it some wine and took it to bed?), but nothing really helps. Last night I was supposed to run an "easy" four miles. Within the first 50ft, I decided the run was DOA, circled the block, and called it a day...very depressed. I thought about running tomorrow, but maybe I should just not. A wise woman tells me that there's no way my fitness can suffer in a week's time. What's done is done and the most I can do now is make any potential injury worse.
Like I said in the last post, I need to stop with the anxiety, and start up the positive vibes. I should focus on the fact that perhaps this minor injury is a blessing in disguise and my running will be even better than I could've possibly imagined on Saturday. The race is still two and a half days away and maybe this calf thing will be on its way out by 8am on Saturday.
The thing I forget is that while I've suddenly become this distance runner and I'm able to run 14 miles, I am FAR from experienced having only a year of running at my back. I don't have much experience with injuries or races or training. I can always run another Half Marathon. This isn't the be-all, end-all just because it's my first. (I'm going to refrain from comparing this to losing one's virginity...oh wait I just did.)
Remember the "as long as I finish" goal? It's so easy to lose track of the whole point of this journey. If I worry too much, I'll completely ruin any fun I could have on race day. A few weeks ago, I imagined the Half with SUCH excitement! I could picture little running Katie, striding along the lakefront path with a huge smile on her face. Somewhere in the last week I lost that cool girl. I gotta go find her again.
Man I better get out of this funk I'm in :\ I don't know what my problem is today, but I'm all meh-ish and blah. And it's beautiful outside too! I'll work out when I get home, maybe that'll put a skip back into my step.
In any case, it's like five--well pretty much FOUR days until the Half, and I'm nervous. I'm freaking myself out I think. There's nothing at all to be nervous about. It's "just running" haha! I've put in all the work. Nothing has gone horribly wrong. My knees feel decent, no worse than they ever do. It looks like it's going to be in the 50s and sunny. I really couldn't ask for a better set-up! I just need the morning to get here already, that's all. Just have to get through these next few days...
So on that note, here is my Week-Of Half Marathon Plan:
• Lots of water. I have a work tailgating party on Thursday where there will be beer-a-plenty, and of course I'm going to indulge, I'm too weak not too ;) But I will focus on a max of one. And in the meantime, water up any chance I get.
• Lots of sleep. I wasn't feelin' so hot this morning, so I took a half of a sick day and slept till 10. I know right? I swear, something is up with my body right now and I don't like it. I was talking to this marathoner/biker neighbor of mine the other day and he said "Make sure you get good sleep TWO nights before the race because you'll be all jacked up the night before and probably won't get good sleep no matter how hard you try." Good point. I read that sleep as a "lag time" of like 36 hours anyway, so it's much more important to get good sleep this whole week than the night before.
• Lots of carbs. Complex carbs/protein a tad more than usual all week. But keep fat and sugar at an even lower level than usual!! This is something I've already f'ed up today because I'm going sugar CRAZY having given it up the past six weeks. I've read some contradictory stuff about over-loading on carbs the night before. I think if I maintain a slightly elevated level all week, and just eat a healthy portion the night before, I'll be good to go. And NO salad...my belly doesn't like roughage before running. ;)
• Morning Plan: Breakfast will be an egg and toast and water right when I get up. I've got two precious Espresso Hammer Gels left for the occasion, so since they have caffeine in them, I'm trying to figure out if I should have just a little coffee when I wake up. I'm a MUST-HAVE-two-mugs-per-morning kinda gal, but hopefully like 8oz of coffee plus the gels PLUS the adrenaline will keep me jazzed up. In addition to the gels, I'll be bringing my Fuel Belt water bottle because my gummy mouth doesn't wait for water stations.
• IPOD! There were many combos of things I could do here. I'm backed up on This American Life podcasts, so I thought about Hour One devoted to TAL, and the remaining race devoted to music. But I've been on a music kick lately, so I found 2.4 hours of stuff to fill the entire race. This includes Girl Talk, of course, along with Lady Gaga and Pet Shop Boys, my more recent running music buddies. Added The Presets, Junior Boys, Scissor Sisters, and Cut Copy as well. Also making the list "Party in the USA." Random right? Awhile back, when the song first came out, I thought about it being a perfect running song and said to myself: "This will be the first song I'll add to my new iPod once I buy one." And so it was written, and so it shall be done.
Ok! Well it helps a little to visual this plan. I've run half the course on my regular runs, so I know the area. I just need to focus on the positives of the experience. You can't worry about something that may happen until it happens!
Ahh Week 11! And Week 12 is barely a training week with, what, my four mile on Tuesday and two baby miles on Thursday? I dare say this is the home stretch my friends! Anyway, today I ran a lousy 6 miles in the rain. Everyone on FB had these really great rainy runs or races and mine just blew chunks. My new Brooks visor helped a ton though...I really needed something to shield my eyes from the rain...I absolutely hate that feeling. Meanwhile though, my knees hurt and I just felt like lead. Oh well, hopefully this just means NEXT weekend will kick ass. This week I had two quality five mile runs at 8:48 min. mi. and 8:49 min mi. averages respectively! That's a full 20 seconds better than I've been running lately! Who do I have to thank? Claire and my ankle weights, that's who! ;) I also thank these nutrition changes I've made. Running days, I always eat two breakfasts, one at like 7: an egg/whole grain bread half sandwich thing, and one a couple hours before my run: quick oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and honey. Then I run around 12:30 and I eat or drink some kind of high sugar thing right after, like chocolate milk or almonds and golden raisins. Less than an hour after that I eat some sort of high complex carb/protein lunch like quinoa with stuff in it or a peanut butter sandwich or whatever. So I definitely have a system going for sure!
But let's be honest here, I WANT BAD FOODS!! Especially sugary cakey yumminess that I haven't had for six weeks!!!!! Mmmmmmm I had a slice of orange cake frozen from my grandpa's birthday two weeks ago that's de-thawing in the fridge as we speak. I will devour it upon arriving home around 11pm tonight after the Easter Vigil! Then I will proceed to eat the following in no particular order: a Cadbury Cream Egg, a Peanut Butter Egg, a cupcake, Girl Scout cookies that have been in my desk drawer for a month, ICE CREAM...or no no CUSTARD, Oreos, a donut, and some other stuff I can't remember right now. Am I preggers? Jeez!
And on that note, Happy Easter!!! Ok so this next week I'll probably write up a fun Pre-Half Marathon post. I can't believe it's a week away WHAT THE EGG?!?!?!?