Friday, September 30, 2011

Weigh In Results

As my struggle to get back down to my weight watchers goal weight continues, I weighed in today like a good little weight watcher.  I was down 1.2 lbs!  I'll totally take that.

Given the marathon training, I have laid off of beating myself up with the lack of weight loss.  It's not easy to lose weight when training for the marathon.  You have to eat more food.  You have to eat more carbs and protein.  But I have gone down a few lbs here and there since training.  I'll take it!  I've gone down many inches though.  Whether that be from all the running or working out with my personal trainer (or a combo of both), I'll take it!

Speaking of my trainer.  My gym has been closed all week because they are switching locations.  That's fine with me, I run and I can use another location this week.  But I haven't seen my personal trainer.  That would be ok except starting last Friday, my hamstrings were really REALLY tight!  All the stretching in the world wasn't helping.  Tuesday, my trainer texted me to tell me gym info and I told him my problem.  He had 2 words: Hot Tub!

After rolling my eyes and thinking "Where am I going to get a hot tub at??"  I realized that I have a whirlpool tub and can fill it with hot water!  Duh!  (Yes, I said "Duh").  That night, soaked in a hot tub.  The next day my hamstrings were 85% better!  Like magic!  I swear, I think some people come into your lives and certain times for a reason!  And I think it was meant to be for me to hire Mike as my personal trainer soon before starting marathon training!  And I hired him without knowing he's a marathon runner!  Perfect combo!

Of course, I can't forget all of you either.  I've gotten helpful words on this blog, through personal email and on facebook from all of you with regard to the marathon!  It helps so much!

There is less than 9 days left.  LESS THAN 9 DAYS!  Can't wait to blog about it!

What am I going to do about my blog name then?  After I run the marathon, I'll have to think of a new goal!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Home Stretch

It's that time.  I'm in the home stretch before the marathon.  My runs are now tapering back.  And I'm so glad!  I've never run so much in my life!  And I never want to run so much again in my life!!  :-P

Last Sunday, my running group was going to run the last 6.2 miles of the marathon course for prep.  They must do this every year.  They think it helps to know the course because at the end, you are mentally and physically drained.  So it helps to know the turns or the hills. 

My friend used her phone to track our run.

Last 6.2 miles of the Chicago Marathon course
 We started on the left side (near the Dan Ryan Expressway).  I guess what my pace leader says always gets people is the small turn going south away from the finish (see the turn near The Gap that goes down to 35th street), I guess a lot of people think we should be going straight but then you do that extra little turn south and it goes away from the finish and mentally that gets people.  Also, for those that don't run any runs in Chicago, there is always that hill on the bridge!!  Oh you know THE HILL!!  It's that little turn from North to East right near the finish (before you start going North again).  There is a bridge that goes over the train tracks.  It's the hill of death.  It's always at the end of the runs (5k's, 8k's, half marathons!!). You always feel like you are going to die!  And you always curse Chicago and the course designers right about that time!

Did running the end of the course help me in any way?  That has yet to be determined but at least it got my mid-week 6 mile long run out of the way early in the week.  And there is only about 1.5 weeks left until the marathon!  Seriously??  I can't believe I made it through the training program in one piece!  Just a minor ache here, an IT band issue there.  But I'm here.  And I'm ready to rock out the Chicago Marathon!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ready to Run 20 Miler

Last Friday I had my first marathon panic attack!  I started getting nervous about family and friends not coming to help support me!  That's actually not true.  My personal trainer said he would run some of the end with me.  My parents said they will come and support me and my cousin Nick said he is a maybe.  I'll also have my running group running in it, which I will start with one of the girls and run with her for a while.  My charity group will be there also cheering us all on. 
But I still found myself short of breath thinking of the marathon and possible failure!  I actually know that there will not be failure!  I know I can do the run.  Sure, it will be tough physically and mentally, but I know I can do it. 

Then I get home and what do I find in the mail...

The marathon confirmation and participant guide!  Haha!  Just what I needed to come home to after my panic attack.  Now it's getting really real!  Only 2.5 weeks left!  Only 19 days left!

This past Sunday was my "Ready to Run 20-miler".  This run is supported by the running organization that I'm a part of.  It's to help prepare you for the marathon. 

The morning was a little cool.  I also had to get up at 3:30 am!  But the night before, I went to bed early.  I had eaten the proper foods that day and drank a nice (but not too much) amount of water.

About 6 am, while in the city, we saw a rainbow.  It's rare to see one in the city.  I thought it was good luck.  Others thought it meant there will be rain.  I said that it wouldn't rain because it wouldn't rain until the evening (I was wrong).  Then right before my wave group got to the start line, a bird pooped on us.  It got on about 3-4 of us (myself included).  Now I was for sure thinking that this was most definitely good luck!  Right??  Had to be!

It started to rain about mile 3 and was pretty much raining about 75% of the run.  It was fine at first but after about 10 miles, I pretty much had enough of it!  I also felt tired.  I was hurting.  I was just tired.  I had been on my feet a lot on Saturday and a lot the morning of the race standing around.  I think that played a huge part in it.

I also left my headphones and my garmin watch at home!  I couldn't believe it!  I really wanted those two things!  Note to self: make a list for marathon morning!

I stayed with our pace group until about mile 12.  I was running with a running friend.  We were both getting a little tired.  We kept our pace group in our sites until about mile 14.  I had to use the bathroom and my friend needed to stretch.  We decided to let the pace group go on ahead.  I thought, we could just spend a few minutes doing this, bathroom and stretching, and maybe that will help us get through the last 6 miles.

Didn't really work.  We had a rough run.  I was tired and getting cranky.  I kept saying "I don't want to do this anymore."  But I kept running.  We stopped at the water stops for the water/gatorade.  And we stopped to walk maybe 2 other times.  But the last 2 miles, I just kept running.  I wanted it to be over.  It hurt for me to stop and walk.  Running felt better.  But I was so tired of running.  It was a catch 22!  My friend told me to go run ahead.  Since there was less than 2 miles, I did go.

I finished the run.  The run wasn't timed so I really don't know my official time.  I think I finished around 3:30 or so.  Not bad.  If I stayed with my run group, I would have finished at about 3:20 so I wasn't too far off.

I'm just a little mad at the way I felt.  My body felt ok but my mind was crazy!

Overall, I'm glad it's over with.  I know that that was not a typical 20 mile run.  It was an "off" running day.  It's ok.  I felt great when I had done the 16 and the 18 mile runs before. 

I posted on facebook the status of my run.  With all the "miserable" stuff I put in there, I got a lot of "That's great!" or "Great job."  But it was my cousin's comment of "I knew you would do awesome!" that got me!  I was perplexed.  Awesome?  No where in my post did I say anything about the run being remotely awesome!

So I responded with "Awesome?  I never said I did awesome.  Unless awesome is to keep going when 90% of you wants to quit!"

And then I thought about it.  Wait??  That is pretty awesome isn't it?  I did want to quit.  I wanted to stop running and sit down.  I wanted a bus to come pick me up!  But I didn't stop.  I kept going.  And I even ran the last two miles.  That actually is doing pretty awesome!

So I made that my quote of the day...

"Awesome is when you keep going even after 90% of you wants to quit!"

Monday, September 12, 2011

26 Days & Post Marathon Goals

Only 26 days left to my very first ever full marathon!  I'm 14 weeks down in the training program and only 4 weeks left!  I remember when I first started training, I would count the weeks...1 week down, 17 to go...2 weeks down, 16 to go!  I thought back then, "when I'm finally past the halfway point and I have more weeks finished than left to complete, it's going to feel surreal!"  And it does!  ONLY 4 WEEKS LEFT!  It's amazing.  And now that I've completed the 18 miles and I have the 20 mile run this weekend, I know I can do the marathon.  I KNOW I CAN.  It's an amazing feeling actually!

I'm a little depressed though.  You only run your first marathon once!  You will never run your first one again!  So I'm going to really make this one count!  I'm going to remember this training and I'm going to remember the marathon.  I'm going to make a photo collection of all photos I took while training for the marathon.  I'm going to take pictures that day.  I'm going to write down things that happened during training and also what I remember while running.  I never want to forget this feeling because it won't happen again!  (At least with a marathon, I may have other "firsts" though).

Now my mind is set to "after" the marathon.  What am I going to do after?  I've been so focused on training.   What days do I have to run this week?  How can I arrange my schedule to fit it all in?  What's my long run on the weekend?  No friends and family!  I can't go for a drink on Friday night! (haha).  It's time to start setting new goals.  It's time to start cleaning my house again!!  (Haha!  Too tired to do it now after all this running!!).

So, I have signed up for two post-marathon shorter runs in November just to keep me running!  I've got a 5k Turkey Trot in my neighborhood for November 13th.  I also signed up for a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning that is 4 miles long.

I have thought about trying a triathlon.  Maybe that should be a new goal for next year.  I'll see how I feel after this marathon.  I may just want to sign up again and try for a better time (as my new goal). 

I also want to say thank you to all of you that have given me advice or encouragement throughout this training!  It's been so helpful!  I can't wait to share my marathon time with all of you on October 9th!

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm amazed!

Seriously, it's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to something, train, and have complete determination!

Never when I started running back in 2003, the little 5k's I did when I was about 230 lbs, did I ever think I could run anywhere NEAR 18 miles!  But that's what happened this last weekend!

The last 4 miles were rough for a friend of mine and I walked a little bit with her.  But the stopping and starting was hurting my knees so I asked if she minded if I ran the last 1.5 miles and she was fine with it.  I did go back for her and run in with her at the end though.  But yes, 18 miles complete!!

Only about 1 month until the marathon!  

I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Half Marathon meet up?

A goal of mine is to do a half in as many states as possible.  I've only accomplished two: Illinois and Ohio.  I was throwing this around at a fellow blogger on facebook the other day and it got me thinking about it again.  With the marathon training, my mind is full and I haven't been thinking on much past this coming October!

But I would love to meet a few of my fellow blogger friends, a half marathon in 2012? 

Do any of you want to help arrange something?  Any ideas on a good half marathon meet up?  Throw the idea around with some of your blogger friends too and let's get started!

In Marathon training news:

This week is a big running week.  This will be the most miles in a single week I've ever done (and my body is feeling it).  My pace is slower.  My knees are sore.  My ankle is sore.  My toe is sore.  I realized the other day, the only thing that wasn't sore after my 9 miles was the IT band that was hurting me!  Maybe I had too much else to worry about.  My miles this week were 4, 9, 5 and Saturday I'm doing 18!

I was starting to get whiny about the training.  "I'm tired!"  "I can't run anymore!"  "My whole body hurts!"  Whine, whine, whine!!  Then I read something in a magazine and it hit home.  I just have to survive the next two weeks (after this one).  September 18th, I will be doing the 20 miles but after that...we taper back until the marathon.  I actually saw a glimmer of light!  And the magazine article also said this is the point in training when your whole body DOES hurt.  It's the point where your runs might be slower!  It made me realize that what I'm feeling is normal.  I almost felt like maybe this was just too much for me!  But I feel better after that article!  I'm sure glad I saw that and read it.