Friday, July 30, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 3

It was all about increases this week. First increase: I am now running four days a week.. This will be standing operating procedure until a week or two before the big race in January. Second increase: Mileage. Of course adding an extra day is going to up my mileage, but I am also upping the amount of miles on my weekend long run.

There were a few hiccups this week. I learned I really need to do more to stretch before and after training runs. My legs, especially my calves, are feeling the lack of care. And let me tell you, tight muscles are not good when you are running four days a week. I do yoga once a week, but I really should incorporate it into my weekly routine more often. I also realized that as much as I love BoingRobics, I may have to give it up soon. Jumping up and down for an hour is harsh on your knees and I can feel it when I run.

There were some positives this week too. Walt Disney World announced the 2011 Disney Marathon Medal. It's nice, not the one I voted for, but nice. I also had some friends tell me that they are thinking about coming over to Orlando on race day to support me on my journey. It would be awesome to have some familiar faces along the race route to help get me through, especially when I hit miles 18-22 which is when runners usually hit "the wall". Even if my friends don't make it out to the race, I am still appreciative that they are thinking about it. No matter what they decide, I know I am not alone in my marathon journey. I have some friends running the race, but more importantly, by best friend will be by my side running and feeling the same joy, pain, frustration and fatigue that comes with running a marathon.  Her fiancĂ© will also be there on the sidelines cheering us on.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Check Out My Bling: 2011 Disney Marathon Medal

Walt Disney World has announced the 2011 Disney Marathon Medal. More than 50,000 people voted on the bling, including myself. This is not the medal I chose, but does it really matter? I think finishing the race is more important. Although, wearing the medal the day after the race does entitle me to free theme park admission. So that is a big plus.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Avoiding Calf-tastrophe

Now that I am running four days a week, my leg muscles are tightening up. Honestly, it is probably because I don't stretch enough before and after my training runs. My weekly yoga class helps, but if I want to endue through this six month training period I need to get better at stretching.
In honor of my need to stretch, I came across this article on the Runner's World Magazine website. It is all about stretching your foot and calves, which have been my two problem areas lately.
The foot and ankle region is a common site for running pain - after all, it's the first point of impact. Elastic, flexible calf muscles can soften the shock down below, helping prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis. These stretches should be used after every run: hold two seconds; repeat 10 times on each leg.
Soleus (inner calf): Sit with one leg straight and the other bent. Grasp the bottom of the foot on the bent leg. Keeping your heel on the ground, pull your foot toward your body as far as you can.
Gastrocnemius (outer calf): Sit with both legs straight. Loop a rope around the ball of one foot and grasp each end of the rope. Flex your foot back toward your ankle, toes toward your knee.

Achilles Tendon (attaches heel to calf): Sit with one leg straight and one bent. Bring your heel close to your buttocks. Keeping your heel on the ground, pull your foot toward your body.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 2

Week two of marathon training is finish. I suffered a minor setback: plantar fasciitis.That is just a fancy term for when the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot becomes inflamed. It is common among runners, but can also be caused by wearing shoes with no arch support for a prolonged period of time. So wearing flip flops the entire Disney weekend and standing in flip flops for 7 hours at the Tori Spelling book signing was not a good idea. Basically I had to rest for a few days and massage the arch of my foot with a tennis ball to loosen things up.

I am still trying to get used to running in the morning. Waking up isn't the issue. I am finding that my legs are heavier and I am moving slower. Maybe it is just the heat and humidity. I have bought a new supplement to try. It is an electrolyte replacement pill called Endurolytes by Hammer Nutrition. Think Powerade in pill form that is taken before you work out. The idea is to help keep your hydration and electrolyte levels high while working out to prevent cramping and fatigue. I haven't really used the pills much yet. So I will write a blog post once I have better idea of the effect it has on my training runs.

Well, it is on to week three. In addition to adding more miles, a fourth day of running will be thrown in the mix. I say bring it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bada Bing... Bada BOING

I am shaking things up during week 2 of marathon training. This week, I added a Boing workout to the schedule. That is in addition to my weekly yoga class and the 12 miles I have to split among 3 days of running this week (only one 5 miler left to go).

So what is Boing, you ask? Boing is like how it sounds. It is a 45 minute aerobics class in a room full of trampolines. Each person has his or her  own trampoline. You do a bunch of different moves while jumping and stationary to work all the muscle groups. It is definitely a cardio workout and then some. Instructors at the Boing Jump Center in Brandon say you can burn up to 1,000 calories in one class. 

I went to this class with three friends. And I think I speak for all of us when I say we had a great time. We laughed and felt like kids as we jumped and flexed our muscles. The class is designed to improve your flexibility, balance, strength, agility and endurance. Two days later, some of us have a few sore muscles. I know my triceps and obliques are a bit tight. But hey, at least I know those muscles got a good workout.

I highly recommend Boing aerobics to anyone looking for a fun, complete workout. You will definitely sweat a lot, tone some muscles and have fun while doing it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 1

The first week of marathon training is almost complete. For the most part it has been a success. The goal was getting use to running in the morning before work and increase the number of weekly runs to three. I have achieved both. I actually finished my three training runs ahead of schedule thanks to an impromptu weekend getaway. I am heading over to Walt Disney World, so I packed the running shoes just in case I want to test the roads at the scene of the 26.2 mile crime (ha ha).

Overall, running in the morning has been a nice change. It is much cooler, but extremely humid. I think I have sweat more running in the morning than I did running in the early evening heat. Also, I don't know if my body just knows I need to slow up my pace to prepare for the longer runs ahead or if my legs are too tired to function at 6 a.m., but I have slowed up tremendously. I am sure it feels like I am going much slower than I actually am. It is going to take some getting used to.

Another change this week: music. I added a few new songs to my training mix, but could use many more. So if you have any suggestions for fast paced, peppy music, please let me know.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Marathon Training Starts With A Bang & A Splash In The Mud

Training for the 2011 Disney Marathon is officially underway. It started yesterday with one final 5K race. The Run Thru Hell in Al Lopez Park. It is really a fitting name for a race. I had not idea I would be running through trails with roots and branches protruding everywhere, mud slicked paths or ankle deep mud puddles. Needless to say, my shoes are destroyed. I also had to run this race solo because my running buddy was too sick to join me. Oh, and I forgot to the timer/tracker on my Garmin. Despite all that, I still had a respectable time. It wasn't my best 5K, but when you're running single file along a trail trying not to fall on your ass a 29:05 finish time is fine.

Now that marathon training is underway, I am a little nervous. I still have questions swirling in my head about how my body will react or will I be able to make it 26.2 miles. Of course, this summer I've been working more on my speed and faster pacing, now I have to slow all that down to go the distance. It's just weird to think that in 4 weeks, I will be back up to 10 mile runs and steadily increasing. Oh well, it's all about thinking and being positive about the experience. If I think I can, then I will! Six months and counting!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Rang In July 4th Running in the Dark

I celebrated Independence Day 2010 with a 10K race at midnight. Yes, you read that correctly. I ran at 12:00am. It was the Kiwanis Midnight Run in Dunedin. Despite the fact that it rained all day and there was cloud cover, the course was nice. You followed a candlelit path across a couple bridges into Honeymoon Island State Park and back.

I started this race strong. The pace for my first mile was 9:08. I stayed pretty true to that time the first four miles. Then my dinner came back to haunt me. Here's a tip for all you runners out there: Don't eat a large meal an hour and half before running. I really should have known better, but I was hungry. I am also not used to running races at midnight. Despite all that, I kept my pace under 10 minutes the entire race and finished with a 14 mph sprint to the finish line. My friend still says I conserve too much energy for the final 100 yards of races, but I really don't. I just like finishing strong, so I did deep and sprint at the end even if I am exhausted and my knees are hurting.

Overall, I finished this race a minute faster than the last 10K I ran in November. My new 10K PR is 58:55. But now is the time to kiss those nine minute miles goodbye. Marathon training begins on Sunday. So the new mantra is slow and steady to finish 26.2.