Running. It’s so good, isn’t it?
NEXT UP: In just over a week, I’ll be running the Surftown Half Marathon. I’m rolling the race into a trip home to see my family in Connecticut, so the weekend will be doubly exciting. I’m foregoing Saturday’s packet pick-up in lieu of celebrating my mother’s birthday, so I paid a few dollars extra to have my shirt and bib mailed. They arrived this week, and I’ve already worn my race shirt on two runs! There is something about wearing an event shirt for something that has not yet happened that makes me feel like a bit of a time traveler. And I like it very much.
Since I have the Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon a few weeks after Surftown, my plan is to run the latter as I would an everyday training run — which, for me, means slow and low. I’ll have to remind myself of this the morning of the race, since I know I’ll likely be feeling way too excited/jazzed up/competitive to prioritize this plan. I’m planning to run Smuttynose at a bit more competitively, but with a very big focus on not injuring myself for my November marathon.
INJURIES: Speaking of injuring myself… I keep injuring myself. My phantom toe continues to baffle doctors, and so I’m headed to another one next week to see if we can keep this trend afloat. To complicate matters, the nail on that toe is slowly turning black, and I suspect it might be on its way to falling off — it’s pretty painful, but I’m strangely captivated by it (doesn’t losing toenails mean that you’re a real runner?) In other news, my recurring runner’s knee has been especially grievous lately, actually cutting one of my runs short last week by a few miles. The worst.
In short, I’ve been in ultimate damage control mode. I’ve been shamelessly wearing compression socks to the office (they pair nicely with boat shoes, by the way), icing my knees like nobody’s business, and foam rolling from morning till night. This week, I managed three runs in a row without any major knee pain, so I’m feeling optimistic about things.
MARATHON TRAINING: Pop Quiz: How do you know when you’re way too excited about running your first marathon?
When you watch Spirit Of The Marathon on Netflix every single night for two weeks. Not that I would know anything about that.
My first marathon, the Myles Standish Marathon in Plymouth, Mass, is coming up in just 73 days. There are no words to describe how very much I am looking forward to this race. For starters, I’ve never been to Plymouth, so I’m looking forward to getting up there the day before and poking around all that good, kitschy pilgrim stuff. In fact, I am somewhat obsessed with “living history” museums. The course itself, which goes through the state forest and then meanders past cranberry bogs(!), looks like it will be a beautiful one — albeit a bit hilly. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on my race shirt — especially when I came across the race’s 2013 logo. Having a cartooned version of Myles Standish (not to mention a pilgrim cap) on a race shirt appeals to my inner nerd in a very big way.Since my troubles with my toe began, I’ve cut back on my weekly mileage pretty considerably. I’m now generally shooting for four 10-milers and one longer training run on the weekend, though I’m expecting to mix that up a bit as my long runs get longer and also as I start to do some small, modified tapers for my next two races. Last weekend, my long run was 18 miles, which was the longest I’ve ever run. I felt full of energy and happy to run the entire time, but at miles 3, 11, and 14, my knee was really acting up, making it almost impossible for me to accomplish respectable splits.
Nevertheless, I finished that run — not even pouring rain and a thunder and lightning storm could stop me. And I felt great afterwards! This weekend, I’m planning a 20-miler — not because I really need a 20 mile run at this particular point in my marathon training, but because I really want to run 20 miles! Am I crazy or does running for a very long time feel like kicking back and relaxing to anybody else? I don’t know what it is. The idea of running 3 miles stresses me out. But running for a few hours feels extremely low-key and laid-back to me.
WHOLE76: Remember how I just finished a Whole30 and then immediately signed myself up for another one? Well I’m on day 4 again! And it’s going really well, especially considering my strict avoidance of nuts and nut butters this time around. Over the weekend, though, while I indulged myself in many a sweet and nut-filled treat (see: Paleo Almond Joy Brownies), I decided that I could probably benefit from taking this challenge a little bit further. So I decided to Whole30 (using “Whole30″ as a verb, of course) until after my November marathon — a decision I’m calling Whole76.
I’m pretty much obsessing over my upcoming marathon, and I want to be sure that I’m in the very best shape possible so that I can have the very best day possible. I think my Whole76 will help me to accomplish that! And honestly I’m very excited by the idea of challenging myself so much — really holding myself accountable this time around. I’m also looking forward to all the delicious meat and vegetables I’ll be consuming along the way. All The Pork! All the Kabocha Squash!
FUEL & HYDRATION: Even though, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t typically feel like I need “fuel” for my longer runs, I’ve just started to bring snacks with me this week, and I think it’s making a huge difference! On my 10-milers, I’ve been having a fruit strip at mile 5, and on my 18-miler, I had one at miles 5, 10, and 15. The result? I am up to my eyelashes in really solid negative splits. Win! I still don’t really care much for stopping, taking out a fruit strip, trying like hell for 3 minutes to open it with sweaty fingers, and then shoving it into my mouth like a lunatic, but I do like feeling like a superhero. So fuel we will.The other thing I’ve been doing a much better job of lately is hydrating myself. During the week, I’ve been running the same route pretty consistently. I’ve been so keen on it because it has a water fountain every 2 or 3 miles, which is great, since I absolutely hate wearing my water belt. It’s actually a really fun route, but I run very (very) early, and I want to be safe — being so predictable is not a good idea. Soon all the public fountains will be turned off for the season anyways, so I decided to cut to the chase and invest in a Camelbak. I had my doubts about Camelbaks, but -wow- it’s really worth the price that you pay for it! By the way, I decided on this one in black. My muscles get cold and stiff almost immediately after I stop moving, so I hate breaking for water when I’m running. Now I don’t have to! The only thing I haven’t quite wrapped my head around is wearing it properly. The only way I can get it to not bounce like crazy is to actually wear it upside down. Anybody have any pointers?
- 15 September: Surftown Half Marathon
- 6 October: Smuttynose Rockfest Half Marathon
- 17 November: Myles Standish Marathon
- 8 December: Happy Holiday Half MerryThon
- 18 January: Charleston Marathon