On June 16th, I will be running the San Francisco Marathon to raise funds for, and awareness to, the Adenoid Cystic Carcinomia Research Foundation (ACCRF) in memory of my father, Gene Carlson. Here I will be writing about my training leading up to the big day.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

One Month to Go!

On Thursday, I got this email from the San Francisco Marathon:
Official bib number 40598.  Start time: 5:52 A-freaking-M!

 They were quite cheery as they announced, "One month from today!"  Gulp.  I cannot believe it's almost here!

I just finished my final 20 mile training run about an hour ago.  As I sit here sipping my green smoothie (coconut water, pineapple, spinach, a couple strawberries and a half of a frozen banana - yumtastic)

 and wearing my new compression socks (people swear by them after a long run...supposed to be like a little massage for your legs and feet. I hope they are right because my feet are tired!)
Compression Socks!!  Supposed to speed up the recovery of your legs and feet.

 I am a bit worried about how calm I am.  In the past, when I'm at that official one month out mark of a marathon, I start getting all jacked up and nervous.  Not this time.  I just feel calm.  I think it's because I really, really, really just want this day to be special.  It isn't about getting in at a certain time - beating every other time I've ever ran which is how I'm usually thinking - it's about really taking in the day and the surroundings and just thinking about Dad.  I still get goosebumps every time I think about the fact that marathon day is also Father's Day.  For me, that just reinforces that he will be there with me by my side the entire way.  I'm going to take photos during the run, enjoy the view, think about all of you who have been so incredibly supportive and try and take it all in. 

I even bought new shoes this past week.  Now that is a sign of calmness...new shoes a month out!?  I tested them out yesterday for an easy 10-miler and they felt really good so I went with them again for the 20-miler.  No blisters so I'll take that as a positive! 

Murphy getting a little too close to my new shoes!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Getting back on the blogging train.  I drifted off - obviously.  The end of March and the beginning of April was quite tough.  I knew it would be hard but something about that one year mark really kicked me in the tail.  I was neither here nor there.  Couldn't quite concentrate on anything.  I was basically wandering through the days.  I was also having a tough time with my training...the long runs in particular.  I was struggling to find the energy to get through them.  It's really just been in the last week or so that I've been able to pick myself back up and refocus.  I ran a 16-miler 2 weeks ago then 15 last Sunday (thanks to my rock, Cathie...having a partner really helps these days).  This weekend the plan is 18-20.  It's hard to believe that marathon day is just 2 months away! 

Have I posted a picture of the elevation yet?  Well for some reason, I decided to look at it again today.  My quads got very upset at me for looking! 

Training runs during the week and cross training has been going good.  My body feels good - knock wood - no major injuries or issues to speak of.  The hip is the hip.  Sore, nagging during long runs but doesn't hang on for days after like it used to so that's a major plus.

The biggest news is the fundraising!  Thanks to all of you, I was able to exceed my goal of $2,000.  We have currently raised $2,230!!!!  I am thrilled!  And with two months to go, I feel confident that number will grow, maybe even to $2,500!  Thank you all again!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Week 16!

It's finally here!  Week 16 is here!!  I've mentioned the training plan that I will be using for San Francisco - Run Less, Run Faster.  It is a 16 week plan that starts this week!  I'm excited that I can finally start the official weekly countdown.  I've been running and building endurance since registering for the marathon but finally starting the official 16-week plan is really exciting.

I will be running three days a week - speed drills on Monday, tempo runs on Friday and long runs on Sunday (give or take any weekly shake ups due to scheduling issues).  I will also be doing lots of cross training in the form of spinning, step classes and strength training.  Every Monday, I'll post the planned workouts for the week for those of you that would like to play along.  Anyone??  Crickets.

This week:

Monday: Body Pump
Tuesday: Speed: 3 x 1600m in 7:30 (400m RI)
Wednesday: Spin; Body Pump
Thursday: Step
Friday: Body Pump and Tempo Run: 2 miles easy; 2 miles at 8:04; 2 miles easy
Saturday: off
Sunday: Long Run: 13 miles at 9:27

In the last month, I've already gotten in several successful long runs (16, 18, and 2 20-milers) so I'm feeling good about my endurance level.  Now I need to focus on hill training (hello San Francisco!) in addition to continuing to build the endurance for the big 26.2.  Here we go!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Week in Review

I have been in 'training to train' mode for what feels like a long time so I'm pretty excited that starting next week, I will (finally!) be starting the16-week training program from Run Less, Run Faster!  I'm really excited because it makes this marathon feel real!  I was putting all of my Sunday long runs on my calendar yesterday and it suddenly dawned on me that no only is June 16th the day of the marathon but it is also Father's Day.  I cannot believe I didn't realize this sooner.  I got goosebumps and had to check and re-check that I was reading the date correctly.  Perhaps this is a corny thing to say but I am really happy that it's Father's Day that day.  I can't think of a better way to spend that day than to honor my Dad's memory by raising funding for the ACCRF and by running the marathon in his name.  What a day it will be!

As I wait for the official training to start, I've been keeping busy gaining endurance and focus.  Here is the last week in photo form!

Sunday, Feb 10th:
Hauled my butt down to the dungeon, aka: our basement, for the weekly long run.  Yes, I know how to run outside but I have this aversion to cold so onto the treadmill I went.  18 miles.  Check!  Felt really good during that run.  All systems were go.  Smooth sailing.

Monday, Feb 11th:

Les Mills Body Pump at the gym. Love, love, love me some Body Pump!  I like to strength 3 days a week and Body Pump is my strength training of choice.  Head to toe muscle butt kick in an hour.  Yes please!  Plus the dead-lift portion of the workout feels so good on the hamstrings the day after a long run!

Tuesday, Feb 12th:
Speed interval day.  Or as the Run Less, Run Faster book calls it, "key run #1".  I've been randomly picking runs from the plan in an effort to not only gain some endurance and speed but also to get used to the fact that during the 16 weeks, I will only (gasp!) be running 3 days a week - but 3 runs with purpose.  This week, I chose the 3 x 1600m at 7:30 w/400 RI.  What does that mean?  Run 1 mile (1600m) at a 7:30mph pace 3 times with a 400 meter rest interval between each mile.  I ran a half mile warm up then the full speed workout followed by a 1 mile recovery run.  It went really well.  Talk about feeling empowered....when I get through these speed workouts, I am on a pretty big high for hours after feeling like quite the bad ass. Nice!

Wednesday, Feb 13th:

On Wednesday, I decided to get to the gym an hour before the 11:00 Body Pump class so that I could jump on one of the Spinning bikes.  These things are super cool.  You tell it how long you want to ride and it conducts a spin class on the video screen for you to follow.  Perfect for cross training.  The book is big on getting some type of cross training in 2 days a week (they refer to this as the "3 Plus 2 Training Week" and since I don't swim, I've decided on spinning. 

Anyway, I go to the gym and both spin bikes were taken.  I kind of paced around for a minute but neither woman looked like she was finishing up anytime soon so I headed for my old friend, the treadmill.  I kept an eye on the bikes and because I was annoyed at a failed plan, jacked up the speed and plowed through 7 miles.  Um, what did I say on Tuesday? I need to get used to running 3 days a week??? This run is totally not allowed on the plan! 

After the run, a bike was finally free so I hopped on and set it for a 30 minute ride.  I didn't get a photo of the finished time/distance (12 miles) because I ended up chatting to two different people and the screen with my results disappeared by the time I turned back to it.  This bike is for real.  The 25 minute 'class' (5 min cool down) was tough!  I was sweating up a storm and had rubber band legs when I tried to pry myself off the bike.  I am going to incorporate it twice a week for sure.  Now if only I could guarantee myself a bike when I got to the gym.  It's all about me, right??  By the time I finished the run and ride, the Pump class had already started so I called it a day.

Thursday, Feb. 14th:

Les Mills Body Step!  No picture because, well, it's just a step.  This is such a fun class.  It's an excellent cardio workout but unlike anything else that I do.  I do it because it's fun and it makes me smile.  Period.

Friday, Feb. 15th:

 Cathie is getting down to the wire with her marathon training.  Her plan called for an 11-mile 'key run #2' so we skipped Pump and headed straight for the treadmills.  I love these Friday runs.  We get to talk non-stop and catch up with each other all while getting some excellent training in.  It's funny because it seems like just yesterday that our kids were in pre-school together and our idea of talking non-stop to catch up involved sitting at her kitchen table with cup after cup of coffee and lots of chocolate chip cookies!  Oh how times have changed!
Hmmm...prob should take photos before the run, not after!
Saturday, Feb 16th:
Back to Pump!  Since I missed it on Friday because of the 11-miler, I went on Saturday morning.  Not my favorite day to go to the gym.  A total madhouse.  People are a bit insane over their personal space and the equipment on the weekends.  Blah.  Grouchy folks irritate me.
On Saturday afternoon, I went over to Cathie's and we took the online certification course, Fundamentals of Coaching Track and Field offered through USA Track & Field.  After 3 1/2 hours, we passed!  It's all part of a bigger plan.  Some day (soon!) I hope to get my business dream up and running.  This was step one and I'm super happy!

Sunday, Feb 17th:
Finishing up the week with a 16 miler.  And yes, inside....again.  But it was cold!  Like really, really cold.  And windy!  Anyway, I had planned for this to be 15 miles but felt really good so I kept going for another mile before deciding that I better cool it if I want fresh legs for this week.


The kids have off of school today for President's Day which means it's an off day for me.  Fuzzy socks, cup of coffee and a good book.  Ahhhh.....

One more week and the real fun begins!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

 On Friday, Cathie and I ran 11 miles at the gym.  When we were done, a trainer she knows came up to chat.  I was just stretching out a bit and eventually he points at me and says, "She has tight glutes" Um, excuse me?  So I told him that I was having problems with my hip and he said that he has seen me in the gym running and noticed that I "...have a bit of a giddy-up" in my run. Ha!  Well that's just awesome!  He initially thought it was either my knee or foot but then decided it must be tight glutes/hips.  I find it so interesting that he got all this from my running form.  He is right though...I've certainly got an issue that I need to fix or at least find a very large band-aid for the marathon!

I've never been good about stretching so I am trying to incorporate that into my routine.  Also, I've gotten into yoga.  And yoga, I firmly believe, is going to be my miracle cure!  That and the Run Less, Run Faster method of only 3 runs per week.

And if Sunday is any indication, the added stretching and yoga is helping! I planned to run 17 miles and because of nasty cold/snow/slick roads, I headed down to my basement treadmill at 9:00 Sunday morning.  I finally found a movie at 9:30 that was scheduled to run until noon which was perfect.  I ended up getting hooked on the movie (In Her Shoes) so when I got to the 17-mile mark at 11:35, I decided to keep on running so I wouldn't miss the ending.  Yes, a sane person would just slow the treadmill way down to 3.0 and walk until the movie ended but no one every called marathon runners sane, trust me on that one.  Plus I felt good.  Felt real good.  My hip was chirping at me but it wasn't horrible pain or anything I felt I needed to stop for.  By the time the movie ended at noon, I was 19.5 miles in and who stops at 19.5??  I'm really excited that I got 20 miles in. It was a huge confidence booster considering I haven't even officially started the 16-week training plan. 

After the run, instead of getting right into the shower and then on to other things like I used do, I spent a good 20 minutes stretching out.  Sunday night we went to a Superbowl party and I stood for 3 hours which had me a bit worried about what Monday morning would bring.  I'm happy to say that I'm not sore AT ALL this morning.  I went to Body Pump class and did choose to use lower weights for the squats but got through it all and felt totally fine.  Yay for stretching and yoga!  And for only 3 runs per week.  Apparently that is just what an 'older'...cough cough....marathon runner needs!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Official Training Guide!

If the training plan I chose to use for the San Francisco Marathon arrived in the mail, this must be official, right?  Here it is!

I'm really excited about using Run Less, Run Faster for this marathon which was recommended to me by my good friend Cathie.  Cathie used the plan for a marathon last year and she is currently knee deep in it again for the Rock-N-Roll Marathon which she will run in DC this March.

I have to admit, I was (and to be honest, still kind of am!) a bit skeptical about this plan because its method is a complete 180 of how I trained for marathons in the past.  The basics: three "quality" runs per week - speed, tempo and long - and 2 aerobic cross training workouts.  Only running 2 days during the week then a long run on the weekend is going to take a lot of getting used to.  When training for previous marathons, I ran as often as I could and with the help of a friend, some of those runs were planned for speed drills and long runs.  The rest, admittedly, were what runners call 'junk miles'.  Just getting some miles in for no real purpose other than to up the weekly mileage.  Run Less, Run Faster believes that all runs should have a purpose thus the speed, tempo, and long run only. I am looking forward to seeing how this plan works for me mainly because the reason why I 'retired' after running the Boston Marathon in 2011 was because my body felt totally beat up.  So many training miles for 5 marathons run over a relatively short time of a little over two years took it's toll.  I've got a few nagging issues - my right hip screams at me more often than not, a cranky lower back, and I've got a wonky left foot that is not as loud as my hip but making itself heard non the less.  For those reasons, I think getting rid of the junk miles is going to be just perfect for me.

This is a 16-week plan so my official start date will be a long run on Sunday, Feb. 24th.  Right now, I'm doing what I call 'training to train'.  The first long run on week 16 is a 13-miler so going into this plan cold certainly wouldn't work!  I've joined Cathie for her run 2 workouts (tempo runs) for the pas 6ish weeks which has been a good primer.  I'm slowly trying to build up my long run too.   A couple of weeks ago I did 13 miles then last Sunday I did 14 and yesterday, I managed to knock out a 15-miler.  I'm feeling pretty proud of the 15-miler because since Jason is out of town, I had to wait until Sunday night after getting the kids dinner and settled.  I feel like if I can slog through 15 miles on the treadmill at night, I can mentally get through anything.  We'll see about that.

Ready to make my training cards!

As a side story, when I got the book, I (again!) took Cathie's advice and decided to make index cards for all 16 of the speed runs.  Mainly because they tend to be a bit involved - run a certain distance at a certain pace, have a rest interval for a set distance, run another distance at a certain speed pace, etc...  Trying to remember it all while in the middle of it on the treadmill just wouldn't work for me.  Anyway, I sat down with the book open to the pace charts and my laptop open to a site that gives treadmill speeds for miles per hour and my cards.  I kept losing my place going back and forth from computer to book to cards so I grabbed a bunch of bananas and a chip clip to keep the book open.  As I started to write another card, it suddenly hit me that this is something Dad used to do every single night when he ate dinner - he would have a good book to read but wanted to do so hands-free so he always used bananas and a chip clip.  Always!  Apparently he felt my frustration and nudged me to the kitchen for some much needed supplies! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcome to my marathon training blog!  Here is where I plan on journaling the highs and lows (may there be very few lows!) of my training for the San Francisco Marathon.  Because I am running the marathon to raise awareness and funds for the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation in my Dad's honor, I will also be telling quite a few stories about him I am sure!  Please take a moment to click on the 'Dad's Story' tab at the top of the page and please, please visit the ACCRF website.

I miss my Dad every day.  There are so many times that my kids will do something or say something funny, or I simply need advice on a home improvement project where I catch myself about to pick up the phone to call or text him.  Since he passed in April, I haven't been able to move beyond the anger.  But today, on his birthday, I've decided that I'm ready.  Ready to take the energy that it takes to be so angry all the time and put it to good use.   It is my hope that this fundraiser will not be a one time thing.  I would like to see it grow to an annual event - perhaps create a walk/run in his name or a golf outting  - when I think about the help we could give the ACCRF with an annual fundraiser, my creative juices really start to flow and I feel like the clouds are starting to lift!  Thank you for being here.  Let the journey begin!