Sunday, February 28, 2010

Taper Madness: Nerves and Electrolytes

Ok, I admit it.

I packed my suitcase last night, at least all the stuff I won't need in the next few days before we leave.

I just HAD to. It was driving me nuts!! It did much for my peace of mind, though I'm somewhat nervous about how much still has to go into that tiny little suitcase. Yikes! And then I have to bring home souvenirs for my family. At least my throwaway layers will be gone, leaving a little room.

I'm also nervous that I'm not well-prepared for the actual race. I did most of my runs with temps in the 30s, and the temps in Florida will be in the upper 40s to low 50s at the start of the race (the high for the day is supposed to be in the low 70s, but I anticipate being done around 9AM, or earlier). I don't know how the temperature difference will affect me.

And I'm nervous about maintaining my pacing in the large crowd. I've never run with so many people before!

And I'm nervous that, despite completing the training, I'm not really prepared. This is where I just have to trust The Penguin and his plan. The unknown is so overwhelming!

This week I am focusing on mental preparation, since I won't actually be running very much. I am also focusing on making sure I have enough electrolytes, and that I take in enough fluids. The section in Marathoning for Mortals for the Week Before Race Day makes a big mention of eating properly and taking in enough electrolytes. I tried the powdered Gatorade today (Lemon Lime flavor) and really liked it! That's a relief! I'll drink those this week, twice a day.

It's really hard to believe that this time next week, I will be a half-marathon finisher! WOW!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Training: Week 13

I can't believe I am nearly there! Today I completed the last long run in the training program. Next week, I will be running a Half-Marathon! Who would have thought it would be possible? Here is what training looked like during this second week of tapering:

Monday -40 minute run (11:05 pace)
Tuesday - 32 minutes Wii Fit Plus Yoga (cross training)
Wednesday - 40 minute run (10:35 pace)
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class (cross training)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 5 mile long run (11:04 pace)
Sunday - rest

As you can see, my pacing was horrible this week. I blame it on Taper Madness. My inability to focus and concentrate has extended to my running! LOL I've really got to get it together before race day. If I take off too fast at the beginning of the half, I'll be in big trouble.

Tonight I will be reading through Marathoning for Mortals, the section on getting ready for the race. They have a specific section on "One week before race day". I know that he recommends sipping on sports drinks through the week to make sure your electrolytes are in balance, so I will do that. I got some powder packs of Gatorade to try. If I can handle the texture, it will be cheaper to take those with me and add them to my bottled water, than to try to buy Gatorade or Powerade at Disney. We are having groceries delivered to save money on our meals (breakfast and easy lunch foods), and we got a huge supply of bottled water!

I'm planning to start packing soon, too. I'm trying to wait on the weather report, but I'm also going crazy! This is my Taper Madness... I absolutely NEED to plan and to pack! The Penguin warns about buying unnecessary running gear during this time, but I should have known better. I'm not a really big shopper. It would take some serious craziness for me to start shopping unnecessarily. But what I AM is a compulsive planner. And this is where my Taper Madness is kicking in. I might have to start packing just to keep myself from going insane. I did start working on my running scrapbook this week in an attempt at distraction, but it didn't do too much good! LOL

Be glad you don't have to live with me! ;)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Taper Madness: Productivity

I am experiencing a complete inability to focus on anything that doesn't involve this race! I'm serious. Ask my husband, my mom, my friends - I'm sure I'm driving them completely nuts!!

I also have an unbelievable desire to go ahead and pack my suitcase already!

I started work on my running scrapbook last night, just so I could do something productive. Productive does not include going through all the paperwork I have to take with me on my trip. Productive does not include going through my packing spreadsheet and organizing it into categories by changing font colors. Productive does not include checking the 10 day forecast for Walt Disney World every 10 minutes.

It's not like I don't have things I SHOULD be doing. I actually did clean up the living room yesterday, and I've managed to feed my family relatively nutritious meals each day. We are also accomplishing lessons (3 more days of those before we take "Spring Break" while I'm gone). The laundry is also getting washed and dried. But my brain and my heart are totally in Florida! I have not done my assignments for my kids' autism therapy. I have not read the next book for my book club, or read ANYTHING that doesn't relate to running or Disney.

I just keep counting down in my head!

Did I mention I'm a little bit excited???

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cross-Training: Ballet

I have always loved dancing. I never took dance classes as a child because we moved around a lot. My mom would also tell you that I never asked for dance classes, but I honestly remember telling her I wanted to (but we won't go there!). When I was in college, I came the closest to dancing that I ever have - country line dancing at a local bar. It was a big thing, learning the new dances and there was a group of us who were there every single night the bar was open.

My girls started taking dance classes 4 years ago, and I have enjoyed watching them so much. The studio they go to also offered adult classes, but you had to be in the recital, and that's just something that I couldn't bring myself to do. But in August, the studio announced they were offering a new class: Adult Beginner Ballet - NO Recital Participation required!

I worked it out with the budget and with my husband to take the class. I bought some ballet shoes, and went to the first class, and immediately realized that this was much harder than it looked!!

I don't do well with hard. I may have mentioned that here before. But my dance teacher (who has been Reece's teacher for the last 4 years, and was Riley's teacher her first year) wouldn't let me give up. And after a few months, it got much easier! And now, 6 months into it, I really love it! It's still hard, as we keep adding new steps and positions and move forward in complexity, but I do enjoy it. And now and then, I even feel like a real dancer!

As far as cross-training is concerned, at my level, it's not much of a cardio workout, but it does help with flexibility and core strength. I feel like I run with better posture as a result of my ballet training. I am certain that my ankles and knees are also becoming stronger as a result of ballet. Also, it's enjoyable, which is an important component of cross-training! :)

But I'm still not doing the recital!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Training: Week 12

Just 2 weeks to go! Can't believe it! This week's training went well! It was the first week of the taper, and it couldn't have come at a better time!

Monday - 50 minute run (12:19 pace)
Tuesday - rest (unscheduled)
Wednesday - 40 minute run (11:13 pace), plus form drills
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class (cross training)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 8 mile long run (11:16 pace)

As I mentioned before, Monday was rough between the after-effects of the 10 mile run on Saturday and the joys of being a woman! ;) I'm glad I listened to my body and took an unscheduled day off on Tuesday. I really needed it, physically and mentally, and my body rewarded me the rest of the week with good workouts!

Today's long run was especially rewarding. It was a beautiful day - 41 degrees when I headed out, bright sunshine, gentle breeze. The park was full of runners, walkers, kids, dogs, birds, squirrels, and geese. It was like a whisper that spring is just around the corner for those of us in the south. What a stark contrast to the 4 inches of snow I woke up to last Saturday morning! Our high today is expected to reach 60, which is more seasonal.

Of course, it's still kind of bizarre to realize that I just called 41 degrees a beautiful day to go outside and run 8 miles. ::shaking head:: Who have I become?! LOL

More tapering this coming week... and I think I'll blog about my ballet class as cross-training!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Training vs. Taper Madness

The 10 mile run hit me on Sunday. The excitement had faded and the muscles all ached quite loudly. I stretched. I stretched. I did some yoga poses. I stretched some more.

Monday morning came around, with the last 50 minute run ahead of me, and the muscles still cried out. It didn't help that my monthly visitor had arrived, I felt awful, and it was in the low 30s and felt like the 20s with a lovely 15 mph wind. For the first time in my training, I did not want to go out and run. Was this what The Penguin referred to in his discussion of Taper Madness? #3 symptom: Complete Aversion to Running.

It didn't really matter. I wasn't about to stop now. I bundled up and went out. Didn't have to worry about watching my pace as I was crawling the entire time! My average pace was 12:19! LOL The movement did help my soreness a little bit, which was nice. But wow, it was horrible.

Yesterday was a cross-training day, but I skipped the yoga and just did the hand weights and ab work that I always do on Tuesdays. My cross-training was supposed to taper down this week anyway, and I will have my regular ballet class on Thursday, which will cover all of the cross-training time for the week.

Today's run was much better, though the weather was only marginally better. I felt stronger and my muscles were much less sore, which was a great thing! I was faster, too, and had to hold myself back to training pace. I can't believe I have only 7 more jogging sessions until the half-marathon!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Training: Week 11

I DID IT!!! I ran 10 whole miles today!!!
Here is a look at this week's training. It was another really challenging week, and I'm so glad that the hardest is behind me!

Monday - 60 minute run (11:14 pace)
Tuesday - 32 minutes Wii Fit Plus Yoga (cross-training)
Wednesday - 50 minute run (11:37 pace), plus form drills
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class (cross-training)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 10 mile long run (11:27 pace)

This was a wild week for running. Monday it was close to 50 so I wore my skirt and tank top that my mom got me to wear in the race. It was really chilly, but I needed to try it out! Then Wednesday I ran in a Wind Advisory... 20 mph winds, gusting to 33 mph. It was 32 degrees and felt like the low 20s. And (to round off a really stress-filled schedule) despite the nasty weather and all the snow last night, I was able to get my 10 mile run in today! I had to run in my neighborhood because the trail goes back through the woods and I figured it was still pretty slippery. Hopefully I'll get to run there next week. I ran my neighborhood which is mind-numbing on a good day, but today I had the added joy of being terrorized by the youth of the neighborhood who thought it was funny to throw snowballs at me. @@ As a result, I used up too much energy at the beginning being upset and aggravated, and it made the run harder than I think it would have been at the park. But I did it!! It's such a relief for me, from a mental standpoint.

I practiced videoing while I was running, and as I expected, it was bouncy. I don't think I'm going to mind though since I'll be going through the castle! :) But then what will I do about the camera in my hand when I come out of the castle and the camera people are there to do the professional action shots you can order? Hmm, I'll have to think about that one.

My foot is doing just fine. I'm making sure to tie my shoes tighter, and today I used some Body Glide on my heel. It still gets bigger, like a blister, and then by the next day it's gone back down and looks more like a callous. And it doesn't hurt or bother me when I run. I'm not sure what to make of it, but it doesn't seem to interfere with my running, so I won't worry about it.

I'm so excited to have made it through the bulk of my training! It's time to taper down and let my legs get ready for the race!! I've read that "Taper Madness" is known to strike so I'm putting the debit/credit card away where I can't get to it easily!! Of course, that leopard print running skirt is SCREAMING for me! ;) Let the madness begin!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

This doesn't look good...

... and it isn't stopping yet!

Training: Winter Weather Advisory? In Georgia?




Perhaps I should have been a little more clear in my prayers for nice weather in which to run my 10 miles on Saturday! ;) Yes, Saturday will be sunny and clear. But it'll be hard to run with snow on the ground. @@ Looks like I'll be running in the afternoon once it starts to warm up. Now all I can pray for is that my trail is open, so I don't have to run 10 miles around my neighborhood. ::shudder::

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Training: Are We There Yet?

I'm wiped out!! I guess this is why it's called "training" and not "playing", right? LOL

Really, I have never been this sore (not like an injury sore, just usage) or this tired. I'm also mentally exhausted. I can barely focus on anything, and I am having a really hard time completing thoughts. I don't feel like myself at ALL!

But the good news is this is the hardest week. It's all down hill from here, and in 3.5 weeks the race will be here.

And then, just maybe, I'll be a fully-functioning adult woman/mom again! ;)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Training: Week 10 report

There are ups and downs in training for a long-distance event, and this week was one of those down weeks.

Monday - 60 minute run (11:13 pace)
Tuesday - 32 minutes Wii Fit Plus Yoga (cross-training)
Wednesday - 50 minute run (11:17 pace), plus form drills
Thursday - 60 minute ballet class (cross-training)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 6 mile long run (11:23 pace)
Sunday - rest

My goal training pace is 11:30-12:00 miles, and you can see that I didn't manage that. Today, during my long run was especially frustrating. There was a group of 4 ladies who started off on the trail the same time I did, and I was matching their pace, even though I didn't want to. This will be a problem come race day when there are 13,000 other women around me! LOL I have to be able to control my pacing at the front so I have enough energy for the big hill (overpass) at mile 11, and for a strong finish!! Oh well, I guess it wouldn't be called "training" if it weren't supposed to be work! :)

Another frustration came from my new shoes. I bought the exact same style I currently have, and wore them on Wednesday. Apparently, I didn't lace them tightly enough and ended up with a blister on my heel. It was gone by today for my long run, but when I took off my shoes at home, I notice it had returned. And it's not exactly what you would think of by a blister. It doesn't actually hurt all that much. It's just there, being annoying. It reminds me of the thing I used to get on my right pinkie toe when I was building up to 6 miles last summer/fall. Doesn't really hurt, per se - but it's there and you can feel it and it's bothersome. On Monday, I'm going to run in my other shoes, and see how that goes. Then during my next run in my new shoes, I'll put some Body Glide on my heel and see if that helps.

On a good note, I am doing much better about relaxing my right foot while I run. That foot is the one that tends to get injured (and blistered, apparently LOL), and I discovered a few weeks ago that I tend to keep it tense. I think it's because I am focused on it, trying not to injure it again. But I started to wonder if the tension was actually making an injury more likely. So I started purposely relaxing that area using a technique I learned during my last pregnancy, while I was prepping for natural childbirth! :) It seems to be working!

One more week of training coming up before tapering begins in preparation for the race! It'll be my longest week yet, culminating in a 10 mile run next Saturday!! I'm pretty excited! So far the weather forecast looks beautiful, so I hope it stays that way! My last few long runs have been in nasty conditions! I'd really like some nice weather to practice running in the new outfit my mother bought me for the race!

As the Penguin says, "Waddle on!!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cross-Training: Swimming

This will be a relatively short post, because my swimming experience is that - short! :)

We have a great county pool system, and each year my extended family chips in and buys us annual passes so we can use any pool in the county any time we want. It's fantastic, and swimming is SO great for all of the kids!

So I looked at that "My First Triathlon" information and saw that the swimming portion is 1/4 mile. Wow, I thought... that's a piece of cake!! I run way more than that! 1/4 mile is easy!!

Hee hee.

I got a pair of goggles, put on my old Lands End tankini, and took the kiddos to the indoor pool.

As we were checking in at the front desk I asked, rather nonchalantly... so how long is this pool?

25 meters.

I did some quick mental math.

1/4 mile is approximately 400 meters which would be roughly 16 laps. WOW.

But still I was not discouraged! I deposited my swimming children at the non-lap end of the pool, told them to have fun and swim nicely, and headed down to the lap lanes. I donned my goggles, and began to swim.

Sort of. I'm not sure you can call it swimming. It was sort of swimming, but it wasn't pretty. I quickly remembered that I hadn't actually gone swimming in a pool in at least 20 years. And in fact, the last time I swam laps was probably when I was 13 and my Uncle Brett taught me how to swim laps. THAT was a LONG time ago.

I got to the end of the pool, gasping for air. I turned and headed back. I was dying. But I was determined. By the end of the 2nd lap, I was done for! LOL

But I don't give up so easily! I did those 2 lap trials 3-4 more times that day. And then we went back the next week, to try it again. And this time I did 4 laps in a row. OK, so that last lap I was thinking, "I'm going to drown... does Austin know where to find my cell phone to call Russ to pick them up?" and I swear I saw the young lifeguard laughing at me. But I did it. 4 laps. 1/4 of the total distance I would need to do in the triathlon. BEFORE I biked 12 miles and ran 5K.

That's when I decided that the Triathlon would best be completed in 2011! LOL

And it worked out for the best, because during this half-marathon training, there hasn't been a good day to get us to the pool. We haven't been at ALL since before Christmas. I intend to get us over there once a week come April! :) And then I can try to avoid drowning again... and maybe get in more than 2-4 laps at a time! LOL Wish there was a "Couch to Swimming Pool" program out there!