Monday, August 6, 2012

Marathon Monday: Mind yourself

I am training for the Columbus Marathon and following a schedule loosely based on the "Train Like A Mother" finish it plan. These posts document my training.

This week, in running:

Monday: 5 miles, easy
Wednesday: 8 miles, easy
Friday: 4.8 miles, 3.1 at tempo (Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K)
Sunday: 12 miles, long run

It seems that the 30-mile week remains elusive. I was two-tenths of a mile off - again - all because I pushed too hard during Friday's tempo run/virtual race and couldn't eke out another 0.2. I think I might live.

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It's no secret that I've struggled so far in training. I've battled record-breaking heat, a busy schedule and a temperamental stomach. I've had to balance BODYPUMP training with higher mileage and figure out to keep Miles in for the ride.

The thorn in my side, though, has been none of those things. It has been me. I have been mentally weak and allowed myself to adopt a defeatist attitude. I have given up, dropping down to the half (unofficially, of course) more times than I count. The situation came to a head when I posted on the Run Like a Mother Facebook page, seeking advice as to when it's "OK" to drop down. I wanted permission to give up.

What I got was a smack on the bottom and incredible support from the Tribe (including the ever fabulous Bobbi).

In one day, they took me from dejected to determined: I was going to make that long run mine.

5 steps to making 12 miles your beyotch

By Healthy Strides

1. Get a new outfit. Miles and I went to Coldwater, Mich., to meet my college roomie for lunch and on the way home, we made a pit stop at the outlets*. I thought I might score some fall duds for him but instead I cleaned up at the Reebok store. A new sports bra, shorts and workout tank were mine. I was particularly enamored with the sports bra** - nearly fluorescent orange with a purple accent. The shorts, black with purple trim, matched and the idea of pairing it together got me excited. Embarrassingly so. I knew that this outfit would be enough to get me out the door under the worst of the conditions.

Ooh, can you sense the foreshadowing?

2. Pretend you are an Olympian. The women's marathon was airing live as I got ready for my long run, and my heart ached for Shalane and Kara as the rain rolled off their hats. Until I looked outside my own window. The lightning flashed and the rain teemed. Instead of staying inside, I put on my hat and imagined that I was running with Kara and Shalane. I would trade shorts for bikini briefs (and a case of Body Glide), and they would run 10-minute miles. We would chat like old friends, and they would invite me to live in Portland.

Yes, I am delirious ... or insanely optimistic. Regardless, my in-laws were recording the marathon (we don't have cable) and the promise of watching them give it their all gave me a boost.

3. Break up the run - literally. MY  MO for long runs post-baby has been to run a chunk by myself and 4 or so miles with the crew. For this run, we switched the plan - 4 miles solo, 4 miles with company, 4 miles solo. The idea was that I was never worried about running more than 4 miles at a time. The plan didn't work out so well - lightning+stroller = bad news - but I did three (different) 4-mile loops.

4. Give yourself an incentive. I've played around with my fueling a lot this training cycle, and I've settled on Swedish fish. Not only are they delicious and economical, they provide me with a little perk. Every 2 miles, I stop for water and two Swedish fish. Their delicious little faces are strangely motivating as is knowing when I can stop.

5. Master your fueling. OK, the Swedish fish. I know they are not the most traditional of fueling but I am convinced that switching to the candy the past two long runs has helped me stay "in" the runs. With traditional gels, you are slurping down 100 calories ever 45 minutes or so. They give your system a shock of energy. With the Swedish fish, I'm taking in about 40 calories every 20 minutes or 120 calories every hour - pretty close to what a gel would be. However, by taking in fewer calories more frequently, I am keeping my blood sugar and energy levels more stable. Or so I think. I have no documentation to prove this nor am I a sports physician. Again, with the delirium.

What are your tips to getting a hold of a long run?

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*I'm in trouble. The once desolate outlet is getting an Under Armor next month.

**Has anyone noticed how much Reebok has stepped up its game? I've never been a particular fan of Reebok but since the company began targeting CrossFit participants, the styles and colors have gotten a lot more fun. It took all I could to not max out my credit card.


  1. you are awesome :)

    I'm so so glad that you are continuing to go for the full. Not only because I have the utmost faith that you can do it, but becuase I am pretty confidant that you will KICK THE CRAP out of yourself if you don't.

    Only 1 goal. FINISH. And you can totally do it!!

    Swedish fish huh? I have heard other runners use them, but I am incapable of chewing anything while running. I need a walk break just to take a stupid gel. Uncoordinated and all that...

  2. Nice job on your running week! I get through my long run by thinking about what I'm going to eat when I am done. :) Pancakes, maybe? French fries, I totally earned it. It continues like that for miles and miles and miles. To get started on my long run, I think about what I'm going to eat afterwards.. Hahaha, my only theme :)

  3. I have to agree with you about the scheduling part for sure, wow, I didn't realize that would be the hardest part. I actually might have to get a dreadmill for my house so I can start getting my runs in...gag right? My husband's work travel schedule paired with it just being summertime plus twin 3.5 year old girls makes for a challenging time to get in the 20 plus miles I need to on the weekends. Any tips or suggestions you throw out there are so appreciated!!! :)

  4. Glad to hear you're pressing on with your training and planning on the full. It's definitely no joyride, but you'll be so happy in the end. And by happy, I mean zonked out on the couch, beer in hand, finisher's medal on neck, 26.2 miles closer to a place called Runners Are Crazy.

    Your break-it-up long run method is as good as it gets. It's the only way I can get through a long run, and for sure the only way to get through the race itself!