Monday, November 28, 2011

Marathon Training: Week 18

I have only one week of training left, and it includes three runs under five miles, three rest days and... hmm... what's the other thing? Oh yeah — the marathon.

I keep forgetting that I'm actually running this thing. "How can that be?" you ask. After 18 weeks of training for this event, one would assume I'd be thinking of nothing else.

Pro tip: Schedule two huge, life-changing events in one week. You'll be so terrified of both events that you won't be able to focus on one or the other, leaving you in an eerie, almost laughable state of calm.

You know how very high-pitched sounds are inaudible to humans? My anxiety is so intense right now that I can't even feel it.

Or maybe — just maybe — I don't feel anxious because I'm genuinely not.

Maybe I actually do feel prepared to kick butt at this marathon.

Maybe I'm incredibly sure that I've made all the right decisions that have led to what's going down this week.

Maybe I realize that the most difficult training runs are far behind me, and all that's left is to ride out this week, fly to Vegas and run 26.2 miles.

If you plan to spend the evening of Dec. 4 waiting anxiously to find out how the marathon went (...anyone?), be sure to check my Twitter and Dev on Running for updates. I'll also write a full, exhaustive recap of the race itself after I return from Vegas (next Tuesday) and/or after I sober up from all the post-race celebrating (to be determined).

And please come back here on Wednesday to learn more about the other exciting thing that's happening this week. Trust me... it's good.


Monday: Strength training — core

Check out this Runner's World video of elite runner Josh Cox demonstrating his typical core workout. Then try to do it.

This is what I did attempted to do on Monday, and it was just one of the many times that I've realized people with rock-hard abs don't get them by accident. Ouch.

Fun fact: In January, Josh Cox won a marathon in 2:17:32, then kept on running to beat his own U.S. record in the 50K. I just... can't even...

Tuesday: 4-mile run + strength

I kicked off this visit to the gym with a quick weight-lifting session, then ran a great 4 miles on the treadmill at an 8:46 average pace. That's kind of fast for me on the treadmill, and I was surprised since my legs were so tired after Sunday's 12-miler.

I guess Meg was right in that running fast helps me... run fast. And I think starting off with weights always helps me run a bit faster since I'm already warmed up. Anything that gets me through a treadmill run faster is a great thing!

Wednesday: 6-mile run

I headed home Wednesday evening to get a head-start on Thanksgiving relaxation, and of course I kicked off that relaxation with a nice run on my mom's treadmill!

Note to self: Turn off the heat beforehand, especially if there's a vent right next to the treadmill that will kick on midway through your 55-minute run. I finished with a 9:12 average pace and sported an obscene amount of sweat.

Thursday: 3-mile run

Sorry for the gross, sweaty picture, but this isn't new here. And it's good to kick off Thanksgiving with a little sweat, right? (I actually turned off the heat this time and still got sweaty.)

My training plan called for 3 miles and I made sure to do them first thing in the morning before The Eating began. Even a run as short as this one made me feel better about filling my entire plate with stuffing and a small side of turkey. When else can you eat eight pieces of bread in three bites and feel good about it?

Flashback: I ran on Thanksgiving last year as well, except I used a hotel treadmill in California. I meant to run 3 miles, but could only manage two. Wow.

Friday: Rest

While many people went nuts with Black Friday shopping, I spent time manning the American Cancer Society's DetermiNation booth at the Seattle Marathon expo. We're recruiting super-cool people to join DetermiNation and train for the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon and Half-Marathon in June.

I loved being at the expo because was full of my people — crazy runners. I heard some great stories from people I spoke with, like a guy who's lost more than 240 pounds (!!) through running and was about to run his first half-marathon.

Unfortunately, I also learned about the many ways cancer has touched so many people's lives. I heard about friends and family members who have survived and who have not. I heard about radiation therapy and double mastectomies.

And then I spoke with a young guy who had just lost his mom. He told me he was running the Seattle half-marathon because he was unable to train for the full marathon while taking care of her. I held back tears as he said he'd be interested in joining DetermiNation to finally train for that full in her honor.

I felt like hugging him, but instead I just squeezed his arm and wished him luck on Sunday as he walked away.

I'd say my time at the expo was time very well spent.

Saturday: 8-mile run

This was my last long run before the marathon, and honestly, it was tough at first. I think running on the treadmill has not done me any favors. I tried to stay slow and steady to avoid pounding my legs into oblivion (see: last Sunday), and I ended up running 8 miles at a 9:12 average pace.

I usually rest my legs after long runs, but on Saturday I went straight back to the Seattle Marathon expo to work at the DetermiNation booth for three hours. Luckily, The Stick booth was right next door, and a very nice Stick representative worked on my leg muscles during a short break.

I'm not sure whether my legs were sore because of all the post-run activity I did or because of my taper-induced paranoia, but it sure was unusual and a bit worrisome. I'll be resting, elevating my legs and wearing my compression sleeves quite a bit this week just to be safe!

Sunday: Rest

I had Seattle Marathon fever, and the only cure was more cowbell!

I went downtown to Memorial Stadium to watch my best friend Carly and her siblings complete the half-marathon, and man, did I go nuts with the cowbell when I saw them run down the finish chute!

The weather was cold, rainy and windy, so I was pretty happy to not be running. The electric race atmosphere certainly helped me get excited for next weekend, though.

Ahhhh! Did I just write next weekend?!?!?


Miles run: 21
Strength-training sessions: 2
Rest days: 2
Servings of Thanksgiving stuffing: 2 (serving size = entire plate)
Weekend days on which I woke up before 8 a.m. to run or attend running events: 4


Miles run: 417
Miles biked: 68
Swims: 7
Yoga sessions: 1
Strength-training sessions: 22 + 2 shower scrubbings


Weeks 1-4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17


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