Thursday, April 30, 2015

It Takes A Village

I'm knee deep getting read to head to Vancouver for the Marathon this weekend.  All I can think of is this is a bit like nesting before you have a baby (I realize that is a crazy comparison).  I started packing yesterday, which led to purging two garbage bags of clothes out of my closet.  I briefly tried moving our bed to a different side of the room and finally decided it was both too heavy, and probably something I shouldn't attempt with a few days to go before a race.  But I've cleared out clutter, and this morning I found myself with ten minutes before needing to leave for the school bus cleaning out the coffee shelf in our pantry.

And if I'm like any other Mom out there leaving her kids for a weekend, I have a list of things I want to do before I go.  Like clean the bathrooms, vacuum the floors, stock the fridge full (check!), and to add to that list, party prep for my soon to be 8 year old.  Hard to believe my eldest turns eight this coming Tuesday.

My race plan is to treat it like a long run until 30K and if I have still have more to give to push it from that point onwards.  My long run pace should see me in at a time of 4:20.  My first marathon time in 2003 was 4:18.  If I have some to give it would be cool to see or even break that number.  A come back post kids to a pre kid number.  All nerves over here!  If you would like my bib number for tracking purposes please leave me a comment below with your e-mail and I'll send it off to you :)

I was thinking this morning that it has been since January of 2009 since I flew solo anywhere, and that was with a girlfriend so that probably doesn't count, which brings it back to 2006 and pregnant with my eldest.  Woah.  I'm pretty excited about a solo flight - even if it is just for an hour!  But despite the nerves, the packing, the hub bub, there was (note the past tense) a sense of loss.  Because when I ran Goofy back in 2009 I came home and told my hubby that I wouldn't race a marathon again without them at the finish line.  I missed having them there THAT much.

And as I approach race day, I've been feeling that sense of loss.  My brothers, their significant others, and my parents WILL be in Vancouver.  But my other cheering squad, the people that have given up HOURS of their time with me, won't be at that finish line.  For a Mom to train for a race of 42.2K requires a whole village behind her offering support.  My hubby getting up early so I can head out early, and watching the kids.  My three littles who at this point in training, beg me to run on the treadmill instead of going outside.  And my middle has caught on, and if I head out the door for a run he will ask me if I'm going to the plane.  And it's not just my family.  Friends too.  Friends who have met me for coffee after almost every long run, run me in, had coffee with me, and driven me home.  Friends who have texted, and friends who have dropped off perfect and amazing last minute run gifts.

And as I prepped my #flatrunner photo to post on this blog, I realized I'm heading to Van solo, but not without my home support.  They are the button on my bib holder, the lend of Wonder Woman socks, and the bling on my shoes.  This marathon already feels pretty magical and I haven't even taken my first step yet.

So as I finish up all my bathroom scrubbing, last 5K running, and backpack stuffing, I know come race day I'll be able to hear the cheers all the way from Calgary.

Thanks crew.  I couldn't be doing this without you all <3

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Know Yourself (Running Edition)

Yesterday was my "short" long run, with an aim of 23K.  The distance caught me off guard, in that I got a little too non chalant.  23 is a BIG break from 36 and I truly thought it would be a non issue.  I came out of my run yesterday feeling disappointed.  Mostly for not doing all the things I KNOW I need to do to be successful.  Here's my personal list of things I know about myself running wise (and otherwise in some cases):

1.  I'm a morning person.  Now don't get me wrong, I would love the occasional sleep in from getting up with the kids, but especially for running, get me up, have some oatmeal, and get on those shoes.  I am NOT an afternoon runner.  I always flop.  It's a food issue.  I don't know how to properly fuel myself for an ENTIRE morning, and THEN run a longer distance.  Even with all my snacks I pack, I was hungry yesterday, and hungry really early on.  I needed to have done my run early in the day.

2.  Gels.  Last year preparing for Calgary, I was super hungry as my distances got higher.  I tried bananas (no no, plus there is no way to carry a banana for 4 hours without it becoming a truly gross mess).  This year I have experimented with a few different gels (Pocket Fuel, my old favorite Cliff Gels, and now using Stinger).  Pocket Fuel was really thick (but good), but it led me to carrying nuts on my run.  Snacking on nuts is so great.  It keeps me fueled, but adds a nice crunch in comparison to my gels.  As for the gels, I have learned I need to take one about every 8K.  If I space them out too much I crash hard.  My body just needs that boost on a more consistant basis.  Yesterday I took ONE.  At 11K.  I was doing well on my run until 18K and I crashed hard.  Not necessarily physically (some yes), but definitely emotionally.  I was just so so done.  I really should have had two gels for that distance.

3.  Pace.  I had a hard time slowing myself down yesterday.  I should be doing a long run pace of 6:30min/k (which I have struggled with all year always landing around 6:10), but yesterday at 2K I saw my watch said 5:38.  Gulp.  Wow.  I tried to scale it back but was really unsuccessful.  By 18K I was at a 6:50 and taking frequent walk breaks.  You can visibily see on Strava where my body just gave up.

The good I am taking from this yesterday, is it was a run that clearly showed I can't just pass any of those things up.  I have to pay attention to them on a long run of ANY distance.

Do you have things you know are critical to making a run successful?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Final Weeks and the Mind Game

This past weekend I ran my longest run to date, but 2K short of what I will hit next weekend.  34 then 36.  It is now only 26 days until the Vancouver Marathon.  The realization of that last week gave me heart palpitations and set me into a pre race panic that only reaches a certain level when 42 kilometers are involved.  It's a feeling of fear, anticipation, excited and OMG I signed up for this??

A few kilometers into my 34K run.  Frosty this weekend but beautiful and quiet pathways.
Back in December I was having issues with my foot going numb after only 5K.  I have been running in Asics for over 10 years, and all of a sudden they weren't working.  Not the kayano, not the cumulus, not even their trail.  This crazy buy a shoe, try a shoe, return a shoe cycle began.  I was also having a glute issue on the opposite side that first surfaced at about kilometer 34 of the Calgary Marathon last June.  After some consultation with running friends and family I went to a chiropractor.  That was last month.  I started seeing her weekly, and the foot issues have resolved, I FINALLY have a shoe that works (I won't say love yet), and the glute issue has so far been laid to rest.  Really, all that is left is to focus on the distance - and overcoming the mental obstacles of what a marathon presents.

Sometimes it does feel like you run forever.  I was so excited to finally see the downtown core approaching.

Despite we put in so many weeks and miles into training, when the marathon approaches there is still this fear of "can I run this?"  As any race presents, you never know what will happen on race day.  The weather, the terrain, your body.  But other distances are a bit more acheivable.  You could run 10K and walk the next 11 to finish a half.  And I suppose that is true too for the marathon, but gosh the marathon distances breeds a bit of the insane.  The distance isn't for everyone, and I think those who sign up for it don't sign up to walk the last half.  We want to do our very best even if that means walking will be difficult for a week afterwards (and lets not discuss stairs).

So with the panic that set in last week, and a successful (yet tiring) 34K under my belt this past weekend, I feel as ready as really one can feel to get on that plane, get to Van, and get this done.

I have a brother running the full, another brother running the half, and my parents, sister in law, and my brothers girlfriend there to cheer us all on.  No doubt we are all going to rock our distances and race plans.


Look at that!  I'm running the route so much faster than last year!
 As for race plans, I have been running and thinking on it alot, and playing with race calculators.  I have a sensible goal in mind (I think) and if my legs can do it I'll push beyond that if I can.  My first marathon was a 4:12 and I would LOVE to see that again.  But realistically I ran a 4:48 in Calgary last June, and that's a HUGE chunk to take off.  We will see what happens.

Are you prepping for a big race?  How do you feel in the last few weeks before hand?