Monday, April 26, 2010

30 miles stronger

This post is a few days late, but Saturday, I got in my longest run to date and my longest run before my 12 hour race. I was again up super early to make some salted potato wedges and my mom and I were off (me running, her biking) at 6:40 am. The weather was not supposed to be nice (chillier than it has been and rain in the forecast), but for the first 2/3 of the run, it was so nice. My mom and I have begun counting things on our long runs to keep us occupied. We each have an earbud in so we listen to music, but keep an ear each open so we can talk, but the counting is fun. Last week, we thought counting people would be a good idea since we were out early. We then ran into 3 running groups and by mile 13, we were up to 200+ people. We realized that was a bad idea. This week, we stuck with dogs and we counted 42.

The weather turned a bit as the sun went behind the clouds and it started to sprinkle at around mile 21. The week previously, my mother asked if we should train in the rain. I said I'd prefer not to do so, but if it happened, it would. I think she jinxed me by saying that, but luckily, it was only a light sprinkling for the final 9 miles.

I have recently become very confused about my training for my ultra and where I really want to take it. I am part of an ultramarathoning e-mail list and someone recently posted about walking breaks during their training. A pretty big ultrarunner posted that any walking during a race or training is failure. I think he is extremely judgmental and opinionated (above all, I disagree with his walking=failure idea), but it really resonated with some feelings I've had. I've run entirely through each of my 2 marathons, so why am I purposefully incorporating walk breaks into my ultra training? Can I run 50 miles straight? No, but I still feel kind of like cheating by incorporating my walking breaks. It allows my body to be able to physically handle the distance I've trained so far, but I still feel weird about it. My mom (a non-runner) keeps telling me that I'm being silly and should keep doing what is working for me (aka walk break). I tried a new running-walking ratio for this 30 mile run that had less walking and it didn't work for me (I think it was a mental thing coupled with being sluggish the first few miles so early in the morning). Once I went back to my 10 min run, 2 min walk routine, my miles were much faster and I felt great. I still have to mentally get over my ego and keep it up OR I need to remove all walking breaks and go that route. We shall see what I decide.

I'm off to Arkansas tomorrow to visit the boyfriend, so I will be doing my training for the next week and a half there. I'm excited to see my guy, of course, but I am also happy for a change of venue from running.

Sorry for my long post today, but I've been thinking a lot about running, what it means to me, why I do it, and what I want to get out of my running this year. Who knew running would be so darn mentally draining? I sure didn't.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

28 miles feels pretty darn awesome

Running your longest distance feels really amazing. I haven't been able to say that in 2+ years when I ran my first marathon and golly, it was an amazing feeling. To be able to say that I ran from Lake Needwood to DC and back, 28 miles total, feels really darn awesome.

I got up at 5:30 am so I could bake my salted potato wedges (a must on my long runs) and be off running at around 7 am. I didn't have my powdered drink mix that I normally had in previous runs (I ran out, but it was of course delivered an hour after I got back from my run), but drinking just water was do-able for one time. I actually felt amazing running with my walk breaks. The weather could not have been more perfect and I liked being out and done so early (well, when you're out for 6 hours, it's hard to be done "early"). I didn't eat as much as I should have, but I still felt pretty great.

As scary as it is to say, I could have kept going. It gives me a lot of hope that in 4 weeks, when I trek up to Rochester, NY for the Mind the Ducks 12 Hour Race, I will be able to keep going for more than 4 or 5 hours. I am getting more and more anxious for my race and I keep trying to guess how long I will be able to run for. I know a race situation will be different than a training run and with my extremely competitive nature, I will not back down easily, but it's nerve wracking. I know I will be as best prepared as I can be by then, but I can't stop the butterflies in my stomach, even 4 weeks out.

Today I have an easy 4 mile run and when that is done, I will have run 50 miles this week! That's also a first since the most I had run previously in a week was 46 miles. I love having firsts, so it keeps motivating me to run. I'm off to do that, then play in my kickball league. Hopefully my team will stay undefeated. :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I got beaten by little kids

The Road Runners club I am in does this timed mile with one of the local young runners clubs each year. It was super super cute to see the kids as young as 3 or 4 running. I was supposed to do a 4x1 mile workout, but since the race was happening and I was curious to see what kind of mile I could crank out, I opted for 3 miles on the treadmill and the race.

It was really cool seeing all the kids running and having exposure to running at such a young age. I joined a track club in 5th grade and it was my first exposure to running. I am so thankful the flyer that I got in 5th grade for the Olney Track Club caught my eye and that I joined. Because of it, I ran in middle school and high school. I've kept that going through my college's track club, which has brought me to run 2 marathons and has me training for 2 ultras and a 3rd marathon. I could have just as easily joined the local basketball or soccer league, but I am so lucky that something about the track club appealed to me. I don't think I would be so involved in running for so long had I not joined.

Either way, I ended up meeting another member of the Road Runners club and we talked about running, races, triathlons, eating during running, and more. We ended up running in the same mile heat. I was really hoping to run  close to a 7 minute mile, but I ended up running a 6:49 mile! He ran a 6:40 mile and we both were aiming to be close to 7 miles, so yay for us! I was so happy to break 7 minutes, even though about 4-5 kids around 10 years old smoked me. Those kids could be future Olympians, right? And future Olympians are fast even as kids, so I'm okay with them beating me. Overall, it was a really great experience. :-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Why running 26.16 miles is disappointing

Normally, I'd be so happy to run 26.16 miles. I mean, c'mon, it's .04 of a mile away from being a marathon and I was only doing a training run. Well, the "only" .04 miles is going to annoy the heck out of me for at least the next 48 hours. I was only supposed to do 25 miles today, but since I was too tired to do my 7 mile run yesterday, I figured pushing up to the marathon distance would make me feel less bad.

My run went really well! I felt great and pushed myself to do my miles 31 seconds/mile faster than the last two weekends of long runs. I wasn't feeling great this morning after a weekend of drinking with my fraternity brothers and with the kickball team I joined, but once I started running, I felt great. The weather was perfect (low 70s, sunny, slight cool breeze). I ate a little less during this run than others and used my fuel belt instead of my handheld bottle. The slightly less food seemed fine, but the fuel belt bothered my lower back like it normally does. It was really bothering me, but I was able to deal with it until the last 2 miles. I had to give it to my mom. She's my sherpa. She rides a bike alongside me and holds my food and extra liquids in a backpack. It's really nice having her along.

I'm torn with how to keep hydrated during my runs. My fuel belt hurts my back too much and my handheld is really annoying to hold. The liquid sloshes along and my hand gets gross and sweaty. I purchased a Nathan two bottle holder , but it doesn't fit a 5'3'' female with a short torso and hips. It looks like this:
Elite 2V Plus

I wish I could find something that works for me, but I am optimistic that I can find something.

I'm off to a yummy pasta dinner with shrimp and clams with my sherpa aka mom. I cannot wait to pass out tonight....I earned a lot of sleep. :-)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why I am doing this

When I tell someone that I registered for an ultramarathon aka a race longer than a marathon distance, most people's first reaction is, "Are you crazy?!" Yes, I am crazy. It is not normal to push your body 30+ miles, but most people reading this already know I am not exactly normal. I started running in elementary school at the local track club and have been hooked ever since. I also really enjoy challenging myself in any way possible, so I have been challenging myself in the world of running with 5ks, 5 mile races, half and full marathons. No marathon in the Spring seemed exciting, so the little voice in my head that said to challenge myself said, "Why not do an ultramarathon?!" My fingers decided to listen to the voice and it registered me for my first ultramarathon just a few months ago.

I have registered for Back on my Feet's 20in24 Lone Ranger Ultramarathon. It starts at Lloyd Hall in Philadelphia, PA (behind the Art Museum) and is run along the 8.4 mile loop that runs along Kelly Drive and MLK Drive. The aim is to run as many loops as possible in 24 hours. My goal is to run at least 50 miles. I am secretly (I guess not so secretly if I am posting it here) hoping that I can run 50 miles in my 12 hour race in May and at least 60 or 70 miles for my 24 hour race in July, but that's a lot to ask my body to do. 50 miles is still the goal for the 24 hour race.

I am on my 10th of 24 training weeks and everything has been going well so far. Each day when I don't feel compelled to run, I know that in July I have a lot of friends and family that will be cheering me on, so I must keep pushing myself to run. I also know that I am running for an AMAZING cause, Back on my Feet. They help the homeless gain confidence through running, then help them get their own housing, jobs, educations, etc. They do so much good and I am so happy to support the amazing cause.

I am fundraising for Back on my Feet for my race, so if you are willing and able to donate to a great cause, you can do so here: Donate Here!

I also became a member of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club. I will be trying to run with them during the week so I can meet runners in the area and have a group of people to run with. On the weekends, my mother is my sherpa in that she bikes next to me on my long runs and holds my drinks and food, but during the week, I need a group of people and I can't wait to go tonight.

I'm off to spend the afternoon with my Nana, then run with the Road Runners tonight.