Race Week!

mtcm

Race Week!  Yippee!

I have not had a good balance in life lately – ignoring myself and focusing on work, family and life demands instead.  So I am ULTRA ready to take Sunday as my me time and run marathon #13.  I honestly don’t care what the weather brings or what my race time is – I am just excited to run 26.2 miles in my favorite marathon!

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Random running thoughts

Random running thoughts:

  • Last 20+ miler of this training cycle done yesterday.  21 miles.  On the Twin Cities Marathon course.  LOVED it.  The miles flew by.   After 4 really slow miles, I ran solo and got in a groove at a really comfortable pace (8:54) and then pushed it for 6 miles (8:10 – 8:40, but with hills).    The hilly part of the course didn’t feel horrible like I remember it from previous years.  I’m in a good place.
  • I tried a new flavor of GU yesterday.  Salted Caramel.  It was seriously delicious!  Like I would almost consider eating it for a treat if there were no treats around my house and I got desperate.  It’s definitely my fuel of choice for Twin Cities Marathon.
  • Got my race guide and corral information.  Corral 1.  Yippee!  Less crowds to deal with and all the fasties will jet off ahead of me.
  • When I was running on Summit yesterday I started imaging the crowds and excitement and what it would be like approaching mile 25 again (where my family lives).  Scott will be out along the course this time too.  I can’t wait.  SO excited!
  • Fall weather arrived this week.  The weather for our long run Saturday was PERFECT marathon weather: 39 and sunny at start, 50 and sunny at finish.

 

 

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Go For It

decide

Love this.  For running and for life.  People are afraid of the marathon for a variety of reasons – of the distance, of the pain that comes with running/racing it, of hitting the wall. Ultimately, to succeed in the marathon you need to decide that you want it more than  you are afraid of it.

I’m also reminded of this quote for life stuff that I’ve been thinking about lately.  I’d say the majority of people stay with the status quo, rather than make changes that scare them.  Too bad.  You’re missing out on good things.

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What makes YOU happy?

more-than-100

Unless you’ve been living under a (social media) rock, you’ve heard of 100 Happy Days.  I’m on Day 47 of it.  You can check out my #100happydays on my instagram.  No surprise that the simple things that make me happy every day (that I can photograph) involve food, drink and the important people in my life.  But there are TONS of things that I can’t photograph that really make me happy:  hearing my alarm go off ultra early and knowing it’s a running day; the feeling that I get when I transition from walking into the first few steps of my morning run; hearing the excitement in the kids’ voices when they talk about things that are happening in their lives that are important to them.  So many more!  If you haven’t done the 100 Happy Day challenge, you should!

My run yesterday was surprisingly good.  18 miles.  In what had to be 100% humidity (I was SOAKING wet after it).  At long slow distance pace, with a few faster miles mixed in.  Lots of much needed thinking time.  Loved it.

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Stepping Back

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 7 year stint of marathon training (7 years!), it’s that you have to listen to – and trust – yourself.  You have to trust that you know what’s best for you.  You can hire a pricey coach.  You can read a dozen “how to run” books.  You can do the workouts that all your running friends swear by.  But ultimately, to be successful at the marathon, you need to listen to what your body is telling you.  Not just your physical body and it’s aches, pains and tight spots.  But your mental self too.

I’ve run 12 marathons.  Most of them were “learning experiences”, where I go out blazing fast and hit The Famous Wall way too early and end up walk-jogging-limping it in.  Some of them were decent.  Two of them were fast enough to BQ.  But each one was a success in its own way.

So as I sit here in the middle of week 10 of my 16 week marathon training plan, I realize that I need to take a step back and listen to – and trust – myself.  Twin Cities Marathon 2014 will be marathon #13.  It was supposed to be marathon #13 last year too – but I was sidelined for 168 days of NO running after multiple tibial stress fractures.  And on every single one of those 168 days that I wasn’t able to run, I swore that when I was able to run again, I would love every second of it.  And the thing is, that with this marathon training cycle, I’m not loving every single second.  Not because the running group isn’t great (they are).  And not because the running coach isn’t great (he is).  And not because the plan isn’t a good one (it is).  But I’m not loving every second because participating in a training plan that has 2 quality (speed, hills) workouts and a long run with some pace in it each week (plus easy runs and cross) is too much, too soon – for me.

Don’t get my wrong – my physical body actually feels great (yes, I did just knock on wood).  No lingering pains.  No signs of stress fracture.  I’m feeling fit and healthy and strong.  I’m 100% confident that I can cover the marathon distance and do so at a respectable pace.

It’s my mental self that is screaming at me to step back and reevaluate the training that I’m doing.  With the training plan I’m doing, I’ve set my expectations (for goal time) at a level that – while it may physically and mentally be achievable for me in 6 weeks – is putting too much pressure on myself and taking away the loving every second part.  I’m still loving the runs.  But I’m not loving the planning and worrying and self-imposed pressure of trying to fit in each of the workouts into what is a really busy time for me (with work and life).

So there you have it.  I’m officially stepping back from my marathon training plan.  

Huh? 

What exactly does that mean?

It means I’m officially NOT having a goal time for my marathon.  (I know – you are all thinking “yeah right.  I know you Cindi.  you have a goal time.  You have your paces figured out for each mile. You can’t NOT have a goal time.”).  But I’m serious.  So serious that I’m even gonna do the unthinkable.  I’m not gonna wear my garmin.  For real.  I’m just gonna run Twin Cities naked, so to speak.  Garminless.   (Ok – I probably will still put it in my waist belt, so I can look at the data later – but I’m seriously NOT wearing it on my wrist and worrying about splits!)

It means I’m gonna work hard for 3 more weeks before 3 weeks of taper, but I’m not gonna stress about it.  But I’m just gonna look at the schedule coach gives me and try to fit in what I can, when I can – and if I can’t, then I’ll just run whatever feels right at the time (example, for various reasons this week I pushed off the quality workouts that were supposed to be Monday night and Wednesday night; I did them Tuesday morning and then just couldn’t get it in today – so I stressed about how that was throwing off my whole week because if I did the 2nd quality workout tomorrow, then I couldn’t do a long run with pace on Saturday because that’s setting myself up for injury . . .).  SO – if I can’t get in the workouts, I’ll improvise.  The good thing about having run so many marathons is that I know myself and I know I’ll be able to finish it.

It means I’m gonna spend the next 6 weeks loving every second of the runs AND the time in between the runs.

So there you have it.  I’m officially stepping back.*

*Serious sigh of relief going on here. Loving it.  And looking forward to marathon #13

 

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20 miles – wheeee!

Had the first (of 3) 20 mile runs of this training cycle this morning. 3 hours and 7 minutes of running.  In a row.  Wheee! It was tough, but in a good way.  Mentally it was tough to go slow (it was supposed to be LSD, so I tried to stay about 50 – 90 seconds slower than MP).  Physically it ended up being tough because I picked a hilly route.  It was also physically tough to do 3 faster miles towards the end (was supposed to do 3 MPP miles – complete fail, could not do it).

I love the 20 miler because every single time I run 20 miles I learn a lesson from it.  Today’s lesson:  what you eat and drink in the week preceding, WILL affect how you perform on the 20 mile run.  I overindulged in food and drink at a conference in Duluth Sunday – Tuesday and I believe that’s why I struggled with the faster miles today (and on my speedier workouts earlier this week).

Still, even though it was a tough 20 miles, I LOVED every step of it.  

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