Taper Time

#52toNYCmarathon
Week 50/52 recap

5 easy – 5 hills (3:57/3:43/3:32/3:27) – 13.17 easy 2:22:00

I am starting to type this recap midweek because I am already feeling a little crazy. I have been so excited about the upcoming race and events leading up to it that I have lost hours of sleep. Taper madness? Not yet but I am getting there.

I was forced to do my cycling at the indoor gym today because of thunderstorm threat. I got that done early, came home, cut my hair and showered. Yeah, I cut my own hair. I should have scheduled to work today but I wasn’t sure how I would be feeling after the 20 miler last Sunday.

I keep joking that I will run the race holding mine.

I keep joking that I will run the race holding mine.

Is it just me or did they add a ponytail to a woman who, in reality, has short hair?

Is it just me or did they add a ponytail to a woman who, in reality, has short hair?

Something that got me, foolishly, all excited was an email telling me that the photos I had submitted landed me a free mini marathoner statuette. They were only available to NYC Marathon runners who are United States residents and could submit a series of high res photos in specific poses. I knew my photos had passed the vetting but the email telling me that I could pick the mini marathoner up at the expo sent me over the edge. All of my relief of having finished my last 20 mile training run, all of the excitement of the race yet to come was concentrated on the fact that I was getting a statuette. I attribute this to the onset of taper madness.

I have been scatter brained, mixing up weeks, forgetting when I was supposed to get together with friends, and forgetting to answer emails. I need to start writing things down because I keep remembering things I need to do before I leave but then almost immediately forget them.

bib:waveHere are a few things that have come my way this week in case you are interested. I got my wave/corral/bib assignment for the race. My start time is at 10:30 AM. It will feel like 11:30 because the clocks will have changed the night before. If it takes me 5 hours to finish, it will probably feel like I have running all day because in my mind it will be going on 5PM.

I will be starting wave three in the green running village. That means I will be starting on the lower level of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge hopefully not getting peed on by the blue and orange starting waves that run on the upper level. My bib number, for tracking, is 51475, I really like that number. The day of the race, you can track me at this live tracking page or a mobile app that is still “coming soon”, info here. The handbook has a lot of information too, with maps and stuff like that.

There is probably more I wanted to share and hopefully I will remember it later.

Determination & Discomfort

#52toNYCmarathon
Week 49/52 recap

9.5 Yassos (4:40/4:29/4:25/4:35/4:34/4:34/4:38/4:33/4:34/4:38) – 5.8 EZ – 20.38 mi (3 easy/ 2 mod. hard x4) 3:45:35

Some of my marathon training runs are harder than others and this week was packed with some of the most difficult. I tackled nine miles of speed work on the track on Tuesday and my last 20 mile long run on Sunday. To those who do not run it can sound crazy.

I have had people say to me, “Why do you run when if it hurts?” or “I would die if I tried to do that.” Granted, I have built up to these harder training runs. It takes quite a while for a non-runner to get to the point they can tackle hours of pounding. The body adapts, tendons get resilient and muscles get strong as week after week mileage and intensity is incrementally increased. My one friend recently said, “I had no idea there was such a science to it.” If you want less of a chance of serious injury, it is best to follow a well thought out training plan.

Another aspect is building mental toughness. Over time and with much practice I have learned to talk myself out of stopping when I am tired or starting to hurt. When I get so tired of running hard in tight circles on the track I think things like, “Why go on? Quit and write up a fake recap for Angie*.” I then keep going and bang out all of the required repeats because when I do a mental check of, “Are you injured?” I have to admit I am not. Then I remind myself, “You are only cheating yourself. No one is going to tough out those final miles for you.”

*Coach Angie Spencer of Marathon Training Academy to whom I could never lie.

Excerpted from “How to Think Like an Elite Runner,”Jim Afremow, Ph.D.;

Our society has conditioned us to believe that there should be no discomfort, to stop when we are uncomfortable. But the discomfort we feel when we’re doing a challenging workout is an important part of the strengthening process. Push through your down days when you’re not feeling your best (unless, of course, you are injured or ill). Dogged determination requires keeping your feet moving forward through inconveniences, discomfort, and insecurities to reach your goals.

It isn’t that I enjoy the discomfort. Heck, I could sit at home on the couch all day and get so stiff it would hurt to walk if I wanted to be in pain. It is the empowerment to overcome minor physical irritations, the determination to complete what I have started despite the physical challenges that arise. I don’t like sweating just to sweat but I know that its itchy gross feeling generally comes with the pay off of better physical fitness.

Convinced that my toes were raw and bleeding, I somehow managed a smile on the final mile of the 2012 Wineglass Marathon.

Convinced that my toes were raw and bleeding, I somehow managed a smile on the final mile of the 2012 Wineglass Marathon.

All of the long runs, speed work and time sacrificed away from other activities and indulgences that I really enjoy are inconveniences on a certain level. They are hard. It is hard to have to say “no” to friends who want to hike or letterbox or go out for beer because I really enjoy those things and miss them. I also know that my determination is paving the way for seeing me through to the finish line of this year-long endeavor of mine.

The 2012 Wineglass Marathon was an exciting new adventure at and completing it was an amazing experience. It also caught me by surprise at times. My feet hurt so much during the final 3 miles that I was certain my toes were bloody pulp and I had to fight off the urge to stop to take my shoes off. I told myself, “Ok, your feet are bleeding. Get to the end then take your shoes off.” When I finally took them off in the car I was shocked that my feet were fine. Not one damaged toenail, not a single blister.

The final miles of the NYC Marathon are going to be tough. I know it will be asking myself to do something I have only been able to accomplish once before. I am prepared for my mind to tell me things that just aren’t so. It will try to convince me to stop. I know I will think things like, “You need and deserve to walk a little. This hill is starting to hurt your legs. You need to stop for another cup of water and walk while you drink it.” Just like when I was a kid asking for a drink of water in the middle of the night, I won’t be thirsty but just looking for some comfort in those long difficult times. Hopefully all of my training and determination will be enough to not have those moments catch me by surprise and I can steel myself, be resolved and determinedly push my way through the discomfort.

Color Run & Trit-Trotting Around

photoHave you ever wanted to join me on a run… without running? You can do that by listening to my third recording of Run Pennsyltucky (a podcast about running in Central Pennsylvania).

Even better is the interview with my neighbor Jess who ran the Penn State Color Run. Listen to what a good time she had and consider signing up next year.

Lastly, I list a few local Turkey Trots that have a lot of character.

I’ll Bia Right Back!

#52toNYCmarathon
Week 48/52 recap

5.8 EZ – .4 test run with Bia – 4.9 hills 3:55/3:24/3:25/3:21 – CR (.3 mile 9% grade) – 10.6 EZ 1:54:492014-10-01 14.01.43-1

For anyone concerned about my delay in blogging, I recovered from my fall really well. My days are just filled with training and planning and regular household duties.I vacillate between being excited that the NYC Marathon is just a month away and being totally over it.

The very best part of training week #48/52 was my Bia Sport watch! I contacted the company and they replaced it within 3 days of my having cracked the screen! Seriously, 3 DAYS! I broke my watch on Sunday, emailed them and by Wednesday I was taking my new watch for a test run down the block. Check out the photo to the right. See the color of the metal loop that holds the watch band on? They offered me turquoise as a replacement if I wanted! YEAH! My new watch will now go with my whole NYC Marathon kit and I didn’t have to miss a day of training because even the cracked screen watch still worked (it hadn’t rained on it yet though).

2014-10-05 09.15.17Jim and I were both able to run together on Sunday. We both had 10 miles scheduled and just stayed local. The weather was a bit crisp early on so we were able to wait until later in the morning to start. The leaves were lovely and we passed the miles together joking and having crazy in depth discussions about Star Trek characters. After a mile of discussing Gul Damar, a Cardassian character on Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Jim looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “How many other runners do you think discuss Star Trek on their long runs?” I had to laugh and answered, “I don’t know but that is why I love running with you.”

Pausing to catch our breath on the uphill was like a commercial break to our Star Trek conversation. As the path moderated, we were right back on the topic of how easy it seemed just take a shuttle craft from the Enterprise on Star Trek The Next Generation. Laughing and running with my love, nothing beats it.

Broken & Bloodied

brokenBia#52toNYCmarathon
Week 47/52 recap

8 Yassos (4:37/4:25/4:21/4:17/4:20/4:20/4:24/4:23 )– 5.3 EZ – 18.2 EZ 3:25:39
Scratched and dirty, I stand before you with a smashed watch face. I took a tumble just as I hit 18 miles yesterday and, yes, off-leash dogs were involved.

The run went really well. I am slow but felt great. The idiots who had their dogs off leash were slowly responding to my shouts of, “Can you control your dogs?” I made it past them when the dogs started to run toward Jim. I had passed the 18 mile spot and checked my watch to see if I had recorded 18 miles yet as I heard Jim yelling arguments that their dogs were not in control if they ran up to people and BAM, I tripped an went flat down and cracked my watch face.

Today, I am a little sore from the run, a little sore from the fall and a little sad about my watch. NYC Marathon training week 47 of 52 is on the books, I will persevere.BiaBroke

Running Down a Dream

#52toNYCmarathon
Week 46/52 recap

5.5 EZ – 5.26 EZ – 12.15 EZ 2:07:07

In the amount of time they say it takes to form a new habit, for as long as it takes a baby’s head to take shape in a pregnancy, the minimum amount of time it takes to heal a broken bone or for a subscription to be processed, in that amount of time I will be running the NYC Marathon. Because the race still seems a ways off and I still have some serious training ahead of me it is hard to start getting excited about it.

All is going well. I have a rotation of 3 relatively new pairs of shoes that I have projected their wear and think I know which pair I will run the marathon in. I have my outfit pretty much set, all has trained well. My fueling is set, Generation UCAN has been working really well for me. I know where I will be staying, what bus I will take to the city and what ferry I will take to Staten Island.

All I mostly have left is putting in the work; seeing my training through without incident. Although I set the wheels in motion last November to have this be a 52 week journey, I had been working toward it for the 3 years prior. Each year I was rejected from the lottery I had been prepared to train for the NYC Marathon. I had wanted it to be my first marathon, my only marathon but I went ahead and ran the Wineglass Marathon in 2012. This is my year to see all of my dreams to fruition, I will be running the NYC Marathon in 6 weeks.

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Arm Warmers & Neck Gaiter

DIY_armWarmersDIY_neckGaitorWith early morning temps dipping into the 40s, gloves and cool weather gear have been making it back into our running laundry rotation. I realize a marathon in November will require some layers but I hate the idea of tossing away a $20 Buff as a neck gaiter or purchase $20 – $40 arm warmers to also be tossed if I get too warm.

I found a pair of $6 footless tights at Target and made both a neck gaiter AND arm warmers by cutting off the legs and then above the crotch. Very little wasted and little expense for something I will probably toss once I am warm enough during the marathon.

I wore them out today and they worked really well!