Thursday, September 23, 2010

Aerodynamic Hair

So in preparation for the race, I cut off a bunch of my hair, making me more aerodynamic. I haven't tested it out but am expecting a huge increase in speed.

It may help balance out the fact that I'm sick. I have this awful hacking cough, dubbed Death Cough (big thanks to Amy for the title) for Cranky. It's keeping me up nights and it even had me in to see a doctor type person today out of desperation. If it doesn't leave me alone, I don't know how I'll fare in this race. Run run stumble hack? Just a guess. I went to CVS and bought just about everything that didn't put me on the Meth Maker lists so hopefully one of those things will come through for me. Nasal spray, organic honey homeopathic whatever, gummi candy with zinc in it? Yes, yes, and yes. And now I will go take it all.

Other than being annoyingly ill, taper week's not so bad. I ran 10 miles on Monday (it was supposed to be on Sunday, but Sunday got away from me) and huh. 10 miles is not so much in my repertoire. Nine? Nine, sure. Nine I can actually do. But 10? Oh, 10. You were rough. My route wasn't the best, but I was going for not getting lost so I made it all main-ish routes in a big loop.

Rourke Bridge

I dropped the boys at school and immediately set my watch and took off from their parking lot, down into Lowell, over the Rourke Bridge and then along a long (long) stretch of 113. This part was nice. 113 is all Merrimack sparkling in the distance, horses grazing in rolling fields, and weird lawn decor that might come to life at night and kill you. Well, it was "nice." It was gorgeous out, I wasn't too tired yet, but I should mention that the wind was blowing hard and right at me and it was tough to keep heading in the right direction since the wind so clearly wanted me to turn around.

The Merrimack

Finally, I cross back to my side of the river and start heading back toward the mothership. At this point, I start to flag. Badly. There's NO shoulder on this stretch of road and there are evil weeds, prickly ones, pushing out into the road and forcing me to choose between running through them and getting cut up or bumping out into the road and into unforgiving traffic. I choose the weeds and my exposed skin is still mad at me, but what did you want me to do, calves? Die?

Around 8.5, I'm hurting. I start picking points in the distance and making myself get to them, and then picking a new one as soon as I'm there. Over and over and over. I tell myself I can stop at 9.5, and then when I limp to 9.5, I make myself do the rest because I can't get so close to 10 and not finish. Plus I need to pick up the boys and if I walk, I run the risk of being late. So I don't.

Finally, my watch beeps out 10 and I stop running and walk. My legs immediately seize up and walking is painful, almost worse than running. I have about .7 miles until home and I limp them, stretch pathetically in the living room, call Andy and almost cry a little bit (in addition to being my husband, he's also my therapist AND exercise physiologist) and he makes me promise to drink some chocolate milk. I find a bottle of protein drink something or other that they handed out at the Falmouth Road Race check in and drink that, and feel sort of better. Better enough that I can shower and pick up the kids and semi-function in mom-role (eh -- I was below average all afternoon at that) and move on.

Anyway, it was not my easiest run. The wind against me for miles 3-7 probably didn't help matters, but here's hoping the half's a bit easier on me, or at least not worse. Ack! It's on Sunday!

Friday, September 17, 2010

So the half lurks

It does. It's lurking, right around the corner. I know it's there, though, and I'm not scared anymore. Maybe I'm being cocky, but I'm not really nervous, either. Sunday night's 9 mile run where I felt like I could go on and on (and on, and, truly, ON) was a milestone for me. Something clicked and I realized: I can do this. And I can and I will.

Today marks 9 days to go, and this week's been a busy one. With the kids both in school at the same time for a couple of hours each day, I've actually been getting in all or nearly all of my Hal Higdon prescribed training runs, and some extra bootcamp-like workouts besides. Even having company all weekend, I selfishly headed out and skipped dinner their final night there, because I had to get my long run in or pay the mental price. And I'm glad I did, because that was the run that made everything okay in my head, and told me I was going to be fine. In pain, sure. Slow compared to the rest of the smallish field of runners? Yes. But! I'm going to finish it running and I couldn't even run a mile in March, so that's what matters to me. I'll worry about going faster on the next one. (!)

This video is simple and straightforward and that's the beauty of it. Hats off to this guy, who has it so right: If you want to do it, all you have to do is do it. It's so basic and it's SO TRUE. (Seriously, I wish I could somehow manage to express myself re: running and how my view of myself has changed without sounding like I've had a partial lobotomy and they replaced the removed brain portion with a Life Is Good coffee mug. Working on it.)

And this guy's blog, too. Right on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

So I have been flat on my back with a cold (well, not really flat on my back, more like living my normal life and being like, "Errrrghhhhhnnnn" periodically) for a longish bit. I've been getting in periodic workouts but have SO not been keeping up with my training schedule. It hangs on the board, mocking me (it is a jerk) and sometimes fluttering in the breeze. Rude.

Even though the cold lingers, I went for my long run last night. Nine (point one!) miles in one hour and 49 minutes. It's 12 minute miles, which isn't fast, but it's also NINE MILES, so. And I really did feel great pretty much the whole time. At the beginning my internal monologue went something like, "WTF, WTF, WTF, WTF, turn around, turn around, turn around YOU HAVE A COLD IT IS A PERFECT EXCUSE AND YOU ARE SQUANDERING IT TURN AROUND OMG WHY I DON'T EVEN KNOW YOU ANYMORE" and then, like it always does, right around the end of mile two, my mind went blank, rebooted and came back making jokes. Sure, under the microscope of a non-mid-run mind, these jokes would all probably be completely and utterly nonsensical, so I guess it's good that I don't remember them. I briefly considered getting a mini recorder to talk into during my runs, but I know for a fact that this would be about as successful as my attempts to write down my dreams by leaving a pencil and paper near the bed. I'd wake up to the note "Walrus, Paper tusks. Melting." Thanks, self.

Anyway, my plan was to do 10 miles yesterday, and around mile 7, shortly after I got non-lost (very possible I was in Narnia or similar at one point) I was like, "You know what? I'm going to do the whole thing. 13.1, today, RANOW." And chugga chugga choo choo I set off to do so with an unnoticeable to anyone watching burst of "speed." And then, 4 minutes later, it got really freaking dark. There was rustling in the bushes. Visions of skunks and getting sprayed and then being forced to sleep in the shed, curled up in the wheelbarrow danced in my head. And thus I headed for home. But I headed there with gas still in the tank, and the conviction that I can do this, and I am no longer afraid of The Half. I am maybe even looking forward to it?

Man, who am I? In February I could barely even run one single, solitary mile. 2010 has been good to me. Ugh, barf, running is making me earnest, and not in a Goes to Camp kind of way, which is the only way I really understand. I am at war with myself. Terrible.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I have been slacking

In all senses! Blog slack? Check. Training schedule slack? Extra check! Prague? Czech! (Lame? Also check.)

Anyway. So I have this training schedule tacked up on my bulletin board (which is next to my whiteboard which inexplicably says CAR in really huge letters and has for almost a year. I think I was supposed to do something to my car a year ago. Perhaps I did? Perhaps I did not. I do have a car, at least, and it runs and I believe it's insured and paid for and all that. I even changed the oil somewhat recently. I am not sure that I CAR'd it, though.) and until Falmouth, I was dutifully following it close to the letter, checking off each day's workout as it passed. But then I ran Falmouth and spent a week on vacation on the Cape doing no running at all, and then I came home and sprinkled a bit of running on top of my cornflakes, just a taste, but nowhere near the (Mon) Strength Train, (Tue) 5 miles, (Wed) 3 miles, (Thurs) 5 miles, (Fri) Rest (I did this!), (Sat) 60 minutes cross train, (Sun) 9 miles.

The funny thing is, I would do the weekend long run and it would be miserable and I'd be taking a break in the UMass Lowell boathouse, washing my face and trying to get some feeling (but not too much feeling) back in my legs. But I wouldn't do the shorter runs. I'd maybe do one of them, if the wind shifted just right and my iPod sheathed itself in my armband and my shoelaces tied themselves. (This only happened once.) I also took a short break due to mowing over a yellow jacket nest and having them SWARM UP MY SHORTS. Running around waving your arms over your head and yelling "Ow!" is cardio, sure, but it's not enough to get you to 13.1.

But then, this week, I came to. The half marathon is THIS MONTH. It's in 24 days. That's one season of 24, if each day was one hour long. It really isn't much time. I have to get myself together. So I've decided this:

1) Any training is better than no training. If I can't get in the full however many miles before Andy has to leave for work or the sun goes down and I get attacked by skunk-bears, that's okay. Do a shorter run instead and don't worry about making the miles up later. Some run is better than no run.

2) Well, there really isn't a number two. Or if there is, I've already forgotten it. Oh well.

So this week I've gotten in two shorter than I should have gone runs and I liked them. I also incorporated some new form techniques that I read about and was pleased to see that they shaved a bit off my pace with not a huge amount of effort.

Maybe I'll be better able to get things in when school starts, giving me a new and exciting window in which to run. Or bike. (Or sleep.)