Nice JOB blogspot. pffft.

The posts have magically reappeared!  I’m scared….I’m going to delete the original one and redo it on this post.  Here is a recap of the one that involved tapering, from the perspective of my coach, Becca.  As I had mentioned previously, I owe Becca my firstborn child.

It is VITAL that you are completely rested for your 26.2 mile journey. You NEED to reduce your distance. These last three weeks is when you seriously need to  taper. Listen to your body, stretch, “less is best”, clip your toenails, lots of water, healthy meals (you won’t be burning as many calories, keep that in mind), sleep, and my favorite a massage, one for before (where they work on your legs) and one for after your marathon.

If you find yourself becoming extremely anxious, take a breath. Come up with a plan, and stick to it. Envision yourself on race day. Simple things like the outfit you are going to wear, how you plan to run your race. I like to break it down into “The Tens”. I try to get the muscles flowing in the first ten miles, work hard in the next ten miles where I am really concentrating, and race the last 10k with everything I have left. I try to run negative splits, where I am passing runners at the end and not the one getting passed. It does so much for me mentally. My favorite is envisioning crossing the finish line knowing that regardless of my time, I did the BEST I could.

Even having a plan for what you are going to pack, so you don’t have to think about it the few days before! Start now with a list! How about if you are running a marathon where you have never been before? When I raced in San Fransisco, I had all sorts of “things to do” printed out, in which I made while tapering, so when I got to CA I had a plan with lots of sightseeing! I called the hotel to see what they recommended, so when I arrived everything wasn’t already sold out! Most of you are going to San Diego, just remember so are 30,000 other runners. Plan accordingly. Check out now if you can tour the course! I have done that, and I LOVE it! 

As you taper, concentrate on reading books. Watch the movie Spirit of the Marathon its awesome and it will motivate you! 

It is normal to feel anxious or nervous prior to a marathon. Even the most seasoned runners experience these feelings. Stay away from runners/ friends who are excessively stressed out or are negative. Don’t let these individuals affect your state of mind. Personally, I have a few people who I dont visit  the weeks leading up to my marathon.

In these next few weeks, come up with TWO goals:

1. Realistic but challenging
2 your ultimate goal

With the list above, be flexible, and make it realistic, (for example, if you don’t run sub 8’s in a 10k, don’t count on it for a marathon). Try to stay within these goals during your marathon! KNOW that YOU CAN DO IT!!!!

You are prepared and ready. You have worked SO hard. TRUST in yourself that you have done the work. You need fresh tapered legs when you toe the line!! As always, I am SUPER proud of you all! Enjoy these next few weeks!



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MIA lauren

Blogging is difficult when it starts to get nicer and when your social life continues to be a top priority, on top of having to work and train.  Seriously, my days usually look like this: work, train, socialize somewhere with someone at something.  I also think that this is the first week in my marathon training history (about 4 months long haha) that I actually have been completing all of the training runs and crosstraining sessions I should be.  Ahhhh crazy professional life as a school psychologist!

Yes, I know that’s bad, but listen, I’m doing the best I can here! Learning to balance all the things that are important to me has certainly made me prioritize my happy places.   I looked at pictures of myself from even last summer, and I can’t ever go back to that.  I want to keep pushing myself, I want to get more toned and lose some weight. I fear that after all of this training is finished, that I’ll go back to letting my social life be more of a priority than my fitness.

After my 20 mile run and fundraiser on saturday (pictured on the left), I played in two softball games on sunday and gave myself a break in the training front.  Looking back, I really enjoyed my time during my 20 miler.  I love listening to music, so for 3 hours and 10 minutes, it was a nonstop dance party.  It also made me laugh to think that I was running the entire course of the Arlington bike path, where most of the cyclists were going out for a 20 mile ride…and I was running it!  I fueled properly before, I hydrated properly during with both water and powerade (salt and electrolytes!!!!) and took two powerade gel’s.  They went down a little more easily than my gu’s, and even though they had less caffeine, I think the higher salt content was actually better for me.  I literally, at the end of my run, could wipe salt off of my face.  It was hilarious.  I didn’t have any gastrointestinal issues (thank the LORD), and felt really confident that my marathon would go similarly.  Also, sorry for never having pictures of me running, but there is no where to put a camera.  I don’t know how the rest of the people do it.

Come monday, I crosstrained on the elliptical for 55 minutes and did weights for 30 minutes.  Tuesday was a 5.5 mile running involving hills and speedwork, today was a 4.35 mile run with a neato training partner, and tomorrow I plan on crosstraining again (with weights).  Saturday starts our tapering, which scares me to death, because its only 10 miles and from here on out…say 3 to 4 weeks…I run less and less on the weekends to freshen my legs for the marathon during the first weekend of JUNE! Like I said, I’m a little freaked out about this all coming to an end…but hope that I enjoy the marathon ever so much that I continue to want to train this summer!  I also am taking the entire summer off to get my sleep habits in check, and maybe start boxing while also running.  I want this to be a summer about me.

From here on out, my school routine looks like its calming down, so that I can actually stick with my training plan.  I also have signed up for the Harpoon Brewery 5 miler, that looks super sick and awesome and will be a nice little practice event before the big marathon.  I also get to run it with my soccer teammate, Mario, although I am not playing outdoor this season.  I know it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal, I just didn’t want to hurt myself before the marathon or wear out my tires.  I’ll join my team again come fall!

 (Image courtesy of 2 beer guys beer blog)

Get this, it’s on May 22nd and it only cost me 40 dollars, while the rest of the world had to pay 100 and enter into a lottery to run it.  Its also only about a mile from my apartment, in Southie.  Here are the Race Benefits:  Race fee:  $40 and includes….

  • Entrance into the 10th Annual Harpoon 5-Miler
  • Commemorative Race T-shirt
  • Post Race Party at the Harpoon Brewery
  • 2 beer tickets
  • Post race meal provided by Kayem and Bertucci’s
  • Lots of fun with our corporate partners
  • Helping us raise over $100,000 for The Angel Fund!

AWESOMEEEE. I can’t wait!  I love this thing called running!  I want to keep signing up for events to keep me motivated.

I also love spring.  Sorry if I’m on and off this thing, but its hard for me to be tied to my apartment and blog because I am a super social butterfly and like to flit about the city whenever I can!  However, I know that blogging has helped me stay connected to my cause, both in fitness and in fundraising for team in training, and I love the support from my readers out there.  Each comment is so refreshing and supportive.  ALSO, big props to Kelly from Cook Skinny (check out her blog because she is super gorgeous AND can cook) for giving me the versatile blogger award!  I feel like I made it!  Happy wednesday!

EFF yes

I don’t have time to post, so I’ll leave you with some photos of my pre-run fuel and positive attitude.  The 20 miler was completed in 3:10.  I severely underestimated how much my legs would feel like tree trunks in the last two miles!

Off to my fundraising event for Team in Training.  One month to the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon!

Anxiety is a motha lova

Anxiety. I live it. I love it.  Well, I don’t really love it.  Let me explain.

I got this email from my coach, Becca, today.  We are about to hit the 20-miler, the biggest indicator of our fitness level and training successes for the marathon.  It reads:

OK!! So I hope you are getting plenty of rest and drinking LOTS (of WATER) in preparation for this week-end long run!! I found this article for you in Runners World!  Without a doubt the longest run is one of the most important parts of your overall training cycle. For months you have been building your running fitness with the goal of completing the long runs that will ultimately get you across the finish!

Tip #1: Getting Started

Don’t think about the long run itself; focus instead on simply getting ready for a run. After all, getting ready to run is easy — the concept of running 20 miles isn’t. In order to do a run all you need is your shoes, your gear and maybe a watch. Done. 
 

By breaking the longer run down into “just another run,” you are effectively removing the mental obstacle 20 miles. And once you get your momentum going it will be much easier to carry that outside the door. (Lauren- you said it yourself last week- this isn’t bad!!!)
Another way to help pave the way for your success by doing as much prep work the night before your long run. This could be as simple as organizing your running clothes or as in-depth as laying out your nutrition, a route map and compiling a special play list. Whatever you need, get it done before you go to bed and eliminate all those early morning excuses.

Tip #2: Get Halfway There

This is one of my personal favorite tips, and it’s by far the simplest. Don’t think about having to run an arduous 20 mile effort. Instead just focus on getting to the 10-mile mark. All you have to do then is get back home!  Seriously though, this approach also gives you the opportunity to planning for the second half of your run, (NEGATIVE SPLITS- what I talk about EVERY week!) where things will get more challenging. By thinking of it as two distinct parts, you’ll be 100 percent ready to have a solid overall experience.

Conclusion

Running long isn’t always as fun and as sexy as the commercials might make it out to be. But nothing beats the feeling of having done a particularly challenging run and being just that much closer to your race, and ALL of you know what I am talking about. 
I am SO proud of you!! You really are SO close to your marathon and you all working SO hard!!!!! Let me know if you have ANY questions, concerns, etc!!! Keep on keepin on!!!

Becca is the best.  However, I immediately emailed her because I think as I have progressed in my training, I have regressed in my ability.  I asked Becca if she thought she knew what pace I should be looking at, why my teammates seem to be moving light years ahead of me…and then it dawned on me that I seriously need to take a step back and reevaluate.
First off, why the heck am I complaining?!?!?!?!  Seriously, I know I can finish this marathon and its my FIRST ONE.  Why am I becoming so obsessed with timing?  I need to learn how to pace myself first, learning what its like to run the 26.2 before I start tacking on some time goals.  I only set myself up for disappointment that way.

Secondly, I haven’t been following the training plan to a T.  There are excuses I could make for why I have and have not been able to follow it as closely as my running team.  I am no more busy than anyone else, yet seem to have allowed myself to let the stress of work, the anxiety I feel from my deadlines, and the tiredness I drag with me everyday getting in the way of giving this 100%.  I bet if I thought about it, both in following the plan, developing my core, and with pushing myself during speedwork and tempo runs, I bet I have been giving it only 68%.  Its like I’m one of my little 7th grade boys with ADHD; I think that by doing two homeworks all school year I should be getting an A because I put in hard work into those two assignments, when in fact, I’m missing about 30 assignments in the meantime.  Its like I have no clue!

Thirdly, I also want to reevaluate what a training schedule could like with more time and less stress.  I also need to evaluate what’s more important to me.  Is it my job?  Is it my friends?  Is it running?  Is it a balance of all three?  Do I need to complete marathons to feel accomplished?  While I know that I am proud of myself for having taken on this challenge as it came during a time in my life where I needed to take this time for myself, do I need to make this a part of the rest of my life?  Yes, fitness, but marathon training?  I won’t know until I cross the finish line.

Lastly, I’m really hard on myself.  Plain and simple.  I expect a lot from me and I’m the last one to give myself a break. I think everyone in my life can attest to that.

So, as I get ready for the rest of my evening, having just completed a tempo run (1 mile at 8:34 min/mile pace, 4 miles at 8:10 min/mile pace, then 1 more mile at 9 minute pace) I should be proud of myself for the work I have put in.  I also have found a way to work hard, play hard, and train.  Still, at times it never feels good enough, fast enough, strong enough, or hard enough.
                                                                                                                                                                 
Any of you ever feel like this?  Does the anxiety of training make it almost impossible to enjoy?  How do you fit fitness into your lifestyle?

(Here is a picture from this past weekend, and what made it so difficult to blog.  After a sunday funday softball game, it was time to BBQ and hit pinatas on a very very very chilly May Day.)

A rainy saturday run

16 miles today.  In the rain.  I even wore a hat because I needed to keep the rain out of my eyes, which is something I never do.  Props to the Brooks Clover hat, because it totally represents the Irish center of Boston; Southie!
Also, I hate to say it, but I ran like my legs were tree trunks, but the rest of my running team kicked BUTT! I literally ran 1 minute per mile slower than I normally do.  My average pace per mile today was 9:17.  Blah.  I normally can run a strong 8:15-8:30.  Now, for some of you, that’s a downright respectable time, especially when running a long run in the rain.  But, for me, I was thoroughly bummed out.  Yes, I PR’d in distance today, as I have never run 16 miles before, but time wise, it was a wash out.
Becca even had this to say in an email after our run:
I wanted to tell you, on your long(er) runs forget about your watch! Focus on how you are feeling! You want to finish these runs feeling great, like you did today, even in nonsense weather!! Once you continuously finish feeling strong, we will incorporate the watch in and show you how to run negative splits! You can still run with your watch, (for distance and knowing what mile you are at, but really don’t get hung up in your times on distance runs!) The point of these long runs is to work hard, and leave some in the tank, where you know you can keep going if you need to!
She’s right, because I did finish that run feeling completely fine.  My lungs weren’t tight, I didn’t feel like I needed to lay down and die, and I just ran right to the recovery snacks needing to stretch out my hamstrings.  But I was still frustrated!
I know (not for health or beauty standards) that to improve my time, I need to lose some weight.  I’m fully aware of this, but its hard when I’m at my “happy weight” outside of the world of running.  I feel comfortable and confident in my skin and for the first time in my 27 years, I haven’t uttered the words “I need to lose weight” when looking at the mirror.  What a huge accomplishment for me.  However, in the world of running, I need to lose some weight to improve speed.  Running longer distances, and for longer amounts of time will also help.  I should also not forget to do my speedwork on tuesdays.  There are lots of training habits and commitments that need to happen prior to running a marathon.
What I realized today is that more than half of this game is mental.  I got into my head the moment I took my first step.  I wanted to stop within the first three miles but thank god for my running team, that I never actually let that happen.  Throughout this morning, as difficult as it was to get through the first 8 miles, then back the next 8, I realized I really love this challenge.  I love getting up saturday mornings for these runs, even if my brain hit a cement wall.  I love knowing that I’m pushing myself and giving it everything I have.  As an adult, especially one who isn’t hitting the “typical” milestones like many of her peers, you need to find other things that motivate you; other mile makers (literally) that take time, patience, dedication, and commitment to get to the end and feel satisfied by.
But what worries me just a tad, is how I’ve used this training to really get my mind focus on other things in life, and replaced some hurt feelings with running.  WHICH is totally awesome and healthy, but I need to come up with a plan for myself when I’m not hyperfocused on my training 24/7.  Literally, I eat, sleep, breath, and blog about running.  Its really all I think about lately, which I am totally excited by.  I feel welcomed into a happy and healthy peace-minded and goal oriented cult of awesomeness.  However, I noticed, lately, that a lot of my conversations are focused on running, and I keep planning for what comes next.  What happens after I run this marathon, that I never thought I would ever ever accomplish in my lifetime.  Will I sign up for another one?  Will I join a running team not associated with Team in Training?  Will I find something else to push myself to do?
I’m not sure I know…at least…for right now.  And I guess I have to be ok with this, and be ok with loving this thing called running, and be ok with loving that I ran 16 miles, whether they be the fastest 16 miles in the history of mankind, or the slowest ones to boot.  Either way, I need to appreciate what this training has done for me, and love it for its ups and downs.  Because after this, I can never tell myself I can’t do anything, in life or in exercise.  How can I complain about the rain ever again, when I just rain 16 miles in it?  How can it ever be too cold, or too late to exercise?  How can I ever tell myself that I can’t accomplish something, because I know, that even if my brain wants me to stop, I will finish it.  Isn’t that awesome?
So cheers to a slow 16 miler, because even when I thought I couldn’t do it, I could.  Cheers to getting up on saturdays and going to bed early on fridays.  And super 100x awesomer cheers to my running team this morning for killing it out there.  They have really improved in speed and endurance and I couldn’t be more proud! And cheers to me for training for a marathon.

A little ditty about cadence

Here is what my coach, Becca, had to say about cadence.  I’ve found it some interesting food for thought and will measure my own cadence during my run today.  Sadly, that run will be on a treadmill thanks to the awesome adage of April Showers Bring May Flowers.  

Cadence can make a huge difference in your form. This is something that you all should be aware of, thinking about, and checking on a regular basis. During one of your runs time yourself for 30 seconds. During that 30 seconds, count how many times your right foot hits the ground. If your number is 45 or above, that is great! If you are below 45, work on shortening your stride and turning your legs over a bit faster. 

You will benefit by increasing your stride rate. I can’t stress how important proper cadence is, and the difference that it can make in your running. Working on this one thing can improve your form, speed, efficiency, and will help prevent injuries. 

After doing some research on the internet, I’ve found several other ways to improve your cadence:

1. Using Quick Short Strides
Run short strides (i.e. 20-30 meters) with very quick steps.  Most importantly, during this exercise, you should lift up your knees and go as fast as you can!  Remember high knees during sports practices and gym class?  This is why we do them.  To get harder, better, faster, and stronger!  Try to repeat this exercise about ten times in a row.

2. The fancier way—use a Metronome or similar device
My parents were both music teachers, so I am quite familiar with a metronome.  Its a simple mechanical device that keeps rhythm.  You can buy devices for running that don’t look like the metronome my parents used.  Oh man, imagine carrying this around?

Tick, tick, tick, tick.  Man, that’s what those bad boys used to look like.  Now there are metronomes for running that you can buy for cheap.  Here is one I found on Amazon for $17.  Its a Seiko DM50S Clip Digital Metronome in Silver.  Hey, this device might not be for everyone, but if you are serious about improving speed, this might be something you invest in. Check it out!

MERGHS and YAHOOOS!

Dear Readers,
    This week has been full of MERGHS (working late, pain in leg, weird fortune, expensive bill) and YAHOOS (a better fit for all, start of april break yessss!)!

    Let me explain: First off. a Mergh:

Ok well it was pretty sweet when I got a mini package from go mom go that included sticky notes and these fortune gumballs.  The weird part was when I opened my love fortune.
It read:
“Your soul mate is the chubby one standing with the ice cream cone.”
Uh. ok. Neat.
Merghs number two and three go hand in hand. First off, lots of work before vacation, meaning late nights with no chance to run.  Mergh.
Then, with no chance to run, the days that I did run, I experienced a lot of muscle pain in my shin/calf area.  Basically, I have an unstable ankle joint.
I kind of knew this about myself, because when I am on heels…although I’m quite comfortable in heels and came out of the womb in them, my ankle has always wobbled a little.
Ok, I’ve always noticed this, but what I didn’t know is how it affects your running.  Basically, with the wrong type of shoe, the entire time I run, the more my ankle and calf are trying to stabilize my gait.  Its kind of like I run on stability balls.  Hey my calves might look beautiful but the more I train, the more this hurts and the more I have to stop.  BLERGH AND MERGH.
Why is that annoying?  Because I just got fitted for new shoes at Marathon Sports and this is the second time I have been burned by them!  Instead, I went to the South Boston Running Emporium to have my gait and arches looked at.  Bill, the owner, has run 30 marathons and still drinks like a fish.  I trust him, he’s a straight shooter who hates barefoot running and speedwork.  His fastest race was a 2:40 finish when he was 21.  To this very day, although I don’t know how old he is, but roughly 25-30 marathons later, he still ran Boston last year in 3:05.  
Ok so Bill checked out my swagger…
And just as I had hoped and feared….
I’m wearing the wrong frick frack shoe.  
This is me realizing I have bought shoes, and spent good money, on something that makes running harder for me, rather than helping.
Ahhh, even with my team and training discount at the Running Emporium, I still had to spend a lot of money on a new shoe.  But, as I told Bill and will tell all of you; I would rather spend that money then not be able to complete this.  I would rather run pain free and feel that high, then sit one out or have to walk because the tightness of my muscles makes it impossible for me to run.
So now, onto the YAHOOOSS!
This was me, after realizing that I’m in a better spot with my new shoes: 
The Asics Gel-Kayano.  In White and Blue.  Sadly, I knew pink shoes would be too good to be true.

Here is the review of my shoe (rhyming, holllaa) here at Runner’s World.
Although, I’ve just pasted it basically for you below:
The Kayano’s plush, foot-hugging comfort is a pleasant surprise in a shoe that offers so much impact protection. The heel packs a heap of Gel cushioning, providing a supportive landing pad for the foot and helping to make this update one of the heaviest shoes in this guide. Testers loved the Kayano’s support and fit but were split in their opinions of the off-set lacing system, with an equal number loving and hating the way it wrapped the forefoot. Recommended as a stable, well-cushioned everyday training shoe.
I don’t know about the reviewers, but I think the off-set lacing system gives it street cred.  Makes them look bad donkey.  
Did any of you get that joke?

I work in schools give me a break.

Ok another Yahoo is, that, its school vacation!
Because of this, I get to sleep for a whole week, rest up, relax, enjoy the Boston Marathon, cheer for my coaches, cheer for Skinny Runner, cheer for myself, run 16 miles next saturday, and give myself a break in the sunshine!
Also, here is a pizza I heated up ala Trader Joe’s, but added some pizzazz to it, to make it more satisfying.
It was a veggie pizza for 250 calories.  I added apple chicken sausage and some goat cheese for flavor.  Delish!
Tomorrow, I am getting in a 10 mile run with Kristy and Saturday I’m coaching the B.A.A. running relay team!  
And remember kids…whatever you do, if you’re training for an important race, big or small, the right shoe is the MONEY MAKER!

Lovely you and blue hawaii

The title is Blue Hawaii by Elvis Presley.  It will all make sense by the end of this post.  Also, Sunday kind of love.  Etta James.  Amazing song.  Ok, onto the rest of sunday.  First off, let’s start this with a quote. 
“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”
-Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner  
We all know that long runs are super important in training for a marathon, but the everyday training is equally as important to build up stamina and endurance.  So, like the good little runner I am, I went out for a 5 miler.  I did stop at mile 2 because there were wind surfers at Castle Island/Pleasure Bay.  It was really cool to see them out there doing tricks, and I just had to take a moment to stretch and check them out.  Here are the splits in the meantime. Props to Mile 4 when I was running in the wind.
Mile 1- 8:19
Mile 2- 7:52
Mile 3- 8:00
Mile 4- 8:09
Mile 5- 7:37
Beautiful.
I got home and immediately started dinner. Tonight’s specialty: “Hawaiian Teriyaki Chicken for the Cooking Challenged”.  I made it so I could have it for dinner and then also take it for lunch tomorrow.  The best part is you only need a five ingredients:
a big ol’ chicken breast- cut up to get 3 oz. per serving
2 cups frozen brown rice
2 servings of frozen broccoli
2 servings of pineapple chunks
teriyaki glaze of your choice
 Let’s let the pictures do the talking.
First, I soaked my chicken breast all day in Trader Joe’s Teriyake Marinade.

Then you put the chicken in a pan, and start a cooking.  At the same time you put instant brown rice and frozen broccoli into a sauce pan and get it a roastin’. 

You can also add in the teriyaki sauce at this point to the rice and broccoli.

Then, add your pineapple chunks to the broccoli/rice pan, once you know its thoroughly cooked.  It takes roughly 10-12 minutes if you are going straight from freezer to pan.

Once everything is good and cooked, aka the chicken is no longer pink and the frozen food is no longer frozen…PUT IT ON A PLATE and ENJOY!!!
I added some chia seeds as a bit of an extra.  I swear to god they are the best things ever discovered.  I know they keep me hydrated and stay hydrated.  That’s important on long run days, so my stomach doesn’t explode.
The rest of my evening consists of this:
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  Awesome show.  I got hooked this winter and never looked back.  Right now I’m traveling through seasons 1 and 2, thanks to Olivia, while typing up psych evals. I will also get in a phone call from good ol’ dad, as he and I have scheduled phone dates every sunday night. 
Ahahah its the best.  I can’t even quote my favorite line because it’s a tad inappropriate. Have a good niiighttt!