I’ve spent plenty of time today reading articles and forums and blogs and I’ve noticed that other peoples’ anxiety and doubts about their upcoming races has me in freak-out mode. I’m beginning to look at everyone’s expected times for their races (even other beginner runners) and I’m starting to think that I need to have a time goal of my own. I’m starting to second guess what I eat before I run. I usually don’t eat anything too out of the ordinary or spectacular before my long runs and I’m worried that my sudden focus on what I will be eating at 6:00 on Saturday morning is turning into another source of nervousness.
Fortunately, I can take a step back and see what I’m doing to myself. I can remind myself that this entire time, finishing the half marathon has been enough of a goal for me and that I will be proud of whatever the clock says when I cross that finish line. I can remind myself that if a Clif bar, a spoonful of peanut butter, a bottle of water, and a sip or two of sports drink has been enough to this point, that it will work wonderfully on race day.
I think this is normal (to a degree) and I don’t think that what I do on Saturday morning is going to be any different than any other Sunday long run. Sure, I will be running with tons of other people, and a lot of them will be faster, better dressed, more experienced than I am, but that doesn’t make me any less capable or any less likely to finish.
Yep, pretty stressful Monday. Chino has a follow-up appointment this afternoon/evening. It was originally scheduled for 5:00, and it is currently 5:07 and I’m hopping on the train to make my 50 minute commute home right now. When things got suddenly crazy at work, I called and asked if they could see him a little bit later. I’m now hoping to make it there as close to the re-scheduled appointment time (6:00) as possible. (Please be kind to me MTA. And if it isn’t too much trouble, could you make sure there’s a 2 or 3 train waiting for me at 96th street?)
Also making for a miserable Monday is the unwelcome and all-too-familiar ache in my left knee. I’m not even going to entertain that disastrous thought though - thinking happy thoughts and icing once all of the other Monday madness is over.
Sorry for the rant. The day hasn’t been entirely terrible. The silver lining? I get to wear my Hunter boots and splash through puddles and blame my large and ever-expanding frizzy hair on the rain/humidity AND Drew and I know where we’ll be living next! See, not all doom and gloom. :)
I finished my last long run before the “big day” about an hour ago. I wasn’t sure how this run would go, given that I was feeling less than stellar before I left. Dehydrated, crampy, and sick to my stomach - none of these make you want to jump up and crank out 12 miles. I told myself that I had to give it my best effort and that if I continued to feel really bad, that I could come home. Once I got underway, I fell into a nice groove and a relaxed pace. I still didn’t feel all that spectacular, but at mile 3 I told myself that I wouldn’t be going home and stopping early. Determined to finish my assigned 12 miles, I pressed on and when I started feeling crappy, I allowed myself to slow down and walk. I wasn’t happy about having to take the walk breaks, but I wasn’t supposed to go out and run at race pace and kill myself. Not allowing myself to stop early was my little victory today.
Even with the walk breaks, I feel confident about next weekend. Just when it seems like adding one more mile to my long run each weekend is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, I finish the run and realize, “hey, that wasn’t so bad.” The added distance next weekend is a non-issue, really. I’m feeling ready, and add the adrenaline and excitement of running with such a large group of people, and I have a feeling that I may surprise myself.
So the aforementioned rager filled me with rage. The security/maintenance guy came up to warn everyone that it was time to go and everyone left and left a MASSIVE mess. As a resident, I was pissed.
Take home message: if you are attending/holding a party in a common space of someone’s apartment building, CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES! The apartment staff and tenants will appreciate it more than you know.
On my way home from work I was seated on the train like any other normal day. A woman got on and stood in front of where I was sitting, holding onto the handlebar above my head. For non-New Yorkers, this is pretty normal, nothing out of the ordinary. A few minutes later, I notice the woman digging in her purse for something with both hands and also note that we are pulling into a station and slowing down. Before I can react, the woman loses her balance and topples forward, elbowing me in the side of the head while simultaneously sandwiching my head between her sizable boobs and crushing my TOMS-covered and thus, relatively unprotected right big toe. She then panics and tries to get off of me but still hasn’t found her footing and wiggles from side to side. (Yes. I have, at this point, motorboat-ed a complete stranger.) She finally manages to stand up and elbows me in the head again on her way, while I sit there absolutely dumbfounded and feeling a little bit violated.
To be fair, she was mortified and apologized profusely and I was too embarrassed for her and myself to look her in the eye but managed to mumble, “it’s fine, it’s fine.”
So now I’m home and my toe hurts a little, and I have a bit of a headache, and an absolutely ridiculous story that I knew I HAD to share. I hope you’re laughing.
On the train to work this morning, I sat and thought, “at this time next week, you’ll be worrying about rushing through the workday to make it home to double-check your packed bags before driving out of the city. Running shorts? Tech tee? Sports bra? Favorite running socks? Shoes? Charged iPod and Nike+ software? etc.” Even thinking about this was enough to get me all worked up and nervous.
I know I haven’t done as much hill work as I should have - New York City is lacking a little on the hills and I struggle with running on the treadmill. I feel like I’ve handicapped myself by not running a few more organized races. I know that early on, I didn’t take my training as seriously as I probably should have. But I also know that I have been extremely dedicated to my running these past few weeks. I can complete 9 miles, 10 miles, 11 miles, and this weekend I will complete 12 - what’s a few more? I know that I don’t really care about my time because this is my first half marathon and anything I do is a PR and an accomplishment. Sure, I have an idea of what kind of time I would like to have, but I also have a realistic expectation of what I’m capable of. In the end, I need to keep reminding myself that it’s all about finishing what I started a few months ago. This has been just as much about the process of turning myself into someone who is capable of running a half marathon as the half marathon itself.
Over this next week, I need to turn worrier into warrior.
As you are all probably aware - because it’s all I ever talk about - my half marathon is in 9 days and I am looking for song suggestions for my half marathon playlist. I would go without, but I have an unhealthy obsession with my iPod and Nike+ software. It’s a safety blanket of sorts. I have really eclectic taste in music, and I’m always looking for something new, so no suggestion is too “out there.”
During a lull in some of my experiments, (science can be a waiting game) I discovered this website and whiled away some time listening to different dialects/accents and trying to decide if Michiganders are really as nasally as everyone insists that they are.
*Ultimately, I decided that we’re not that bad and that I prefer my Michigander/Midwestern “accent” to a few others I happened upon.
So this week, my last week of training, I’ve been plagued with a senioritis of sorts… I’m really not sure what to call it. It’s not quite apathy, but it’s certainly not productive.
I took Monday off because my body NEEDED the day to recover. I felt like I had been hit by a mack truck after my 11 miler on Sunday, and a day off was necessary. Yesterday, well, I don’t even have a reason for that… So tonight I almost didn’t go to do cross training, but because of my dear boyfriend, I dragged my ass upstairs to the gym and did some cardio on the bike and stair climber (owwwwww) and did some lifting and a few planks. I don’t want to say that I felt entitled to a day off, but I think that’s how I felt yesterday. After weeks of dedication to my training program, I felt like a day off was deserved.
I’m angry with myself and a little disappointed. I feel like it’s been this awful no-exercise/unhealthy-living bender that I’m coming off of. I needed a quick reminder that I’ve come this far, and now is not the time to just pack it in. I’m glad that Drew won’t let me give up on myself, and for the next 10 days, I’m a slave to the training/tapering schedule and when my half is over I can take a day or two off here and there (guilt-free) while I recover and begin conditioning for my NEXT half marathon. (Oh yes, there will be more of these - many more.)
Ok, not your heart, but your whole body. This is a constant on all running forums where people are asking about that strange twinge in their knee, or that weird swelling around their ankle, or that frightening dizzy feeling they get after an hour of running in 90 degree heat. Listen to your body. It is a runner’s mantra. Tonight, and for most of today, my body has been telling me that it is time to take the night off and I’m going to listen. My knees are screaming, my feet are swollen and sore, and most alarming to me, is that my right achilles burns and feels really tight and creaky. Eeek! (Really not digging the mental image of a ruptured achilles… No thanks, I’ll pass.)
I can’t lie, I’m a little annoyed with what my body is saying. With less than two weeks to go until my half marathon, the last thing I feel like doing is taking time/miles off. I realize however, that it is what’s best and necessary if I’m going to be healthy and ready next Saturday at 8:00 am. Still, this doesn’t resolve the fact that I feel like I NEED the miles in order to feel mentally ready. This was not the way I had hoped to start my last week of training before tapering. So, I will be spending this evening with ice, stretching, and massage, and thinking happy, healthy return-to-running thoughts for tomorrow.
Decided to be a good little runner tonight and to not go out with Drew and some of his fraternity brothers in Brooklyn. I had my fun earlier (a lot of it - thanks for the win Meeechigan) and I need to be hydrated and on my A game for tomorrow’s 11 miler.
It would have been really easy to ignore the fact that I have a long run tomorrow, and to go to Spuyten Duyvil and drink all sorts of delicious Belgian beers, but something tells me that I would suffer the consequences tomorrow. Hungover, dehydrated, and running 11 miles in 80 degree heat? No thanks. My half is two weeks from today. Two. That’s insane. I’m excited and nervous and everything in between.
So, instead of getting rowdy at the bar tonight, I think I may throw in a movie (I’m open to suggestions!), paint my nails, drink a lot (of water), and go to bed early. Is this discipline or my descent into adult/old lady-hood?
Tonight’s run brought to you by: Danzel - Pump It Up and a trip down memory lane…
This song makes me think of spring break in Acapulco with a handful of my darling sorority sisters. My sophomore year of college was pretty amazing, and this trip was no exception. It is also a phenomenal song to run to.
So for all of my beautiful sorority sisters - this one is for you…
I found this on a RunnersWorld.com forum and HAD to post it...
Someone on the forum started a thread asking for tips for a first time half marathon-er (like myself), and some witty, wonderful person posted this gem that they credited some other unknown person with. I really wish I could give credit where credit is due, because this made me laugh. If this is yours, thank you. It’s a little long, but here goes:
Here’s a long and exhaustive (but not complete) list of some of the important stuff nobody ever told me (and that I later wished they had), in completely random order, provided for absolutely no reason at all:
1: Get there early. However early you were planning to get there, get there a half hour before that. Nothing sucks worse than getting there at the last minute. Add another 15 minutes if you haven’t pre-registered. Get there early and you can meet people, scope the course, find the bathrooms, run a warm-up, etc. It’s supposed to be fun - and stress ain’t fun.
2: Take toilet paper. Seriously. If you don’t need it, fine. If you do, you’ll thank me. As a bonus, it can make you popular, once the TP runs out. No joke.
3: Speaking of which - get to the bathrooms/porta-a-potties early. As soon as you get your number. No guarantees you’ll get the chance much later. Quit laughing. This bathroom stuff is probably the most valuable advice you can get. Ignore it and you’ll learn the hard way. Having to poop for 5 miles is only funny when it happens to somebody else.
4: Start farther back in the pack than you think you need to (especially if they’re using chip timing). It’s way, way more fun to pass people than to be passed. (See the threads on the timing chips for a ridiculous amount of info on the subject).
5: If you care about your time, wear a watch, and time yourself. Remember to hit it once you reach the start, and when you cross the end. Seems obvious, right? Don’t forget. If there aren’t chips, it’s the only way to guarantee an accurate time, at least for your own records. Have a rough idea how fast you want to be going at each mile marker. If you’re way fast, slow down, etc. Again, it’s more fun to be speeding up in the last mile than to be a participant in the ever popular Slow Trudge of Death. Then again, if you’re slow but hurting, don’t race to beat the watch. Have fun, and forget your time during the race - you can obsess about it later.
6: If you do wear a watch, make sure you’re not looking down at it when you cross the finish line. Practice finding the button without looking. Trust me - everyone ruins their finish photo doing this. Look up and smile. Bonus points for triumphant hand raises and/or obscene gestures.
7: In case the above wasn’t clear enough - start slow. No, even slower. Especially in your first race. There will be a lot of people around you who will set their own personal bests in the 800 meters once the race starts. These are the people you’ll be smiling at in 4 or 5 miles as you pass them. Try not to laugh at them. It’s mean. But if they’re puking and fainting, get video. Post it on You Tube. That’s always fun.
8: If there’s a timing chip, secure it as much as you want. Plenty of loops. Two plastic thingies. If you’ve never seen one and have no clue what I’m babbling about, ask a volunteer to help you. They charge you money if those things fall off. Plus, it’s always fun to make getting the chip a challenge for the volunteer at the end. They love that.
9: Run a warm-up mile or two. I know - you’re thinking you’re already running a long way, why run farther? Because you’ll probably ignore the above and start out too fast, and you’ll be glad you were warmed up ahead of time, especially if it’s cold out. At least jog a little.
10: While you’re warming up - since you have plenty of time - play around with where you like to wear your race bib (the number they give you). Personally, I hate wearing it on my shirt, and it took me a while to figure that out. So I stick it on my thigh. No, not in the meat of my thigh, cuz that would hurt. On my shorts. Maybe you’ll like the opposite. I know it seems silly, but after an hour of running anything that annoys you at the start can become really irritating.
11: At the water stops, head for the last cups not the first – and if you’re walking while you drink, get over to the right before you start. So people don’t throw things at you.
12: Walk while you drink. Even if you weren’t planning on walking, the 20 (or, say, 17) seconds it takes is worth it to actually drink rather than wear the water. And you’ll run faster later. Passing the people too cool to walk is once again one of the more pleasurable moments in the race.
13: Ditto to the above if you are intentionally taking walking breaks. Get to the right. Be polite. At the very least, don’t be yakking with your four friends all running shoulder-to-shoulder and then come to simultaneous stops. If you do this, people will throw heavier things. Sharp things, too.
14: If you listen to your iPod, keep it low enough so you can hear what’s going on around you. Or expect more heavy and sharp things to be tossed in your direction. Of course, it’s runners doing the throwing, and they’re generally weak and pasty … so don’t worry too much.
15: Figure out a good running “play list” for your iPod and use it. You do not want to be searching through Air Supply’s Greatest Hits for a song that actually has a beat you can run to. Trust me on this one. Grooving to “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” will not boost your adrenaline.
16: If somebody else breaks rule 14, elbow them sharply if they won’t get out of your way. And curse them out, too. Don’t worry – they can’t hear you, remember?
17: Don’t listen to your iPod. Or at least consider not listening to it.
18: Do nothing new on race day. I mean nothing. No new shoes. No new clothes. No super duper new technique you read on a message board. And above all else, no new food. (But again, if you ignore this, get video when you’re heaving your guts out. Become a You Tube star. Be my hero.)
19: Don’t eat too much on race morning. Don’t eat nothing either. A banana and a bagel. Toast and one cup of coffee. Some orange juice. Stuff like that. But a double Grand Slam at Denny’s with a side of biscuits and gravy? Not so much. Well, unless you really want to be popular on You Tube. Because as everyone knows, if you can get it coming out of both ends, your legend will last for years – especially if it’s on film.
20: Bring some warm clothes you can strip off right before the race and put back on right after the race.
21: Bring a crew. Which usually means a spouse. Or a kid. Or a pal. Dogs are nice, but not as helpful. It’s always handy to be able to have someone to toss stuff to once you realize you don’t need it. Like a hat or gloves or sunglasses. Or your iPod.
22: If you take your cell phone with you on the race, people like me will be laughing at you. If you actually answer it, expect more of those sharp and heavy but weakly thrown objects to come flying in your direction. (One exception: if you happen to be the race director of the race in which you’re currently running. Otherwise, you’re just an uber-dork who needs to have a cellphoneectomy).
23: If you have no crew (that’s your hubby), and no clue what you’re doing with extra stuff, either take cheap stuff, or at least put your name in it somewhere. Or just have a rich spouse. Both are fine. The point is that at mile 4.5, if you’re over-heated enough, you may be tossing that sweatshirt away, no matter how much you spent on it.
24: Do not wear the t-shirt you just got at registration. Don’t do it. Just say no. Don’t ask why. Just don’t. If you break both this rule and rule 22, you’ll be declared the largest geek in the universe, and the world will end. Who needs that?
25: Under dress on cold days. No, don’t be semi-nude – but be cold at the starting line. If you’re warm at the starting line, you’re wearing way too much. You’ll be plenty warm soon enough. If it’s above say 55 degrees, come as close to being naked as possible. I’d suggest nudity on warm days, but there are some support issues involved.
26: Bring beer.
27: Bring me a beer.
28. Have fun but run hard. It’s a race. Make it hurt. If you puke at the end, people will clap. Okay, I’ll clap. But puking is good. Runners dig all biological functions.
29: Try and go easy in the first half and run hard in the second. Races tend to be faster when your pace is even throughout or slightly faster in the second half. And as aforementioned, you’ll get a huge kick in mile 5 out of passing all the dorks who sprinted away from you at the starting line.
30: Even if you walked and jogged the whole way, sprint the last 100 yards. Why? Cuz it’s fun. And your race picture (assuming somebody takes one) will be much cooler. Then it can become a nice avatar to impress your online friends.
31: If the event is big enough for spectators, wear something with your name on your shirt, in very big letters. It gets you personalized cheers. No kidding. Remember this for your first marathon. Hearing “Go, Jake, you sexy stud!” is way, way better than “you can do it, unknown dude …”
32: If the race has a course map, check it out ahead of time. Know where the hills are. It can be really nice knowing what’s coming next. Rounding a corner and finding an unexpected steep hill is depressing. Also, for more bonus points, you can use the info to your advantage: when a big hill’s coming, tell the dork with the cell phone that he should sprint on ahead since there’s a big downhill around the next turn. Good times.
33: At the start of the race, if they’re organized enough to have a color guard and somebody sing the national anthem, stand still for a minute and enjoy the morning. Consider even taking your hat off. If you’re really radical, put your hand on your heart. But please don’t yak in a loud voice about what happened on American Idol last night. Sorry. Pet peeve. Don’t mind me.
34: At the end of the race – stick around. Cheer on the slower people. And no matter how slow you are, odds are somebody’s slower. Odds are a lot of people are slower. If you run sub-1:10, there maybe be hundreds of people slower than you. Hang out and support them. With beer in hand and video camera at the ready. It can be the best part.
There. That should get you started. I’m sure I’m forgetting plenty.
Oh – and the coolest of all possible things, at the start of the race, is to line up at the very start, and then when you hear the gun – sprint forward as fast as you can, and scream “I’m winning!” at the top of your lungs. It’s a classic. People love that.*
* Just Kidding. Don’t really do that. Or if you do – say it with me – make sure somebody gets it on film. Cuz that’d be really funny.
Well ladies and gents, looks like I’m going to have to settle for 4 miles on the treadmill tonight. I tried to hurry home and beat the rain and rush the pup through his walk. The rain started falling as we walked through the front door of our building.
I don’t mind a little rain, but these weren’t the grayish-white clouds of yesterday’s rainy run, these were dark, menacing clouds - the kind of clouds that may dump buckets of rain, and maybe produce a few flashes of lightning. They’re supposed to move through pretty quickly (gone by 8) but not soon enough for me to catch a little bit of daylight.
So treadmill, bring it. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m feeling a little sore/tired but optimistic after yesterday’s phenomenal 10 mile run, so I’m interested to see how I do. Yay for running!
Welp, I finally got around to making our reservations for the half marathon in the Hamptons. Nothing like waiting until the last minute…
There was a method to my madness though and I got really lucky. I was going back and forth between: a) the option of saving some money by taking the bus to and from the Hamptons on the day of the race, and b) the more convenient/comfortable option of getting a hotel room in the Hamptons on Friday night. The bus was scheduled to leave at 4:30am on race day and I wasn’t so keen on that idea. I don’t sleep very well on buses/when I’m excited and already up and at ‘em, so I decided it would be worth it to shell out the dough and get a room so I could wake up fresh (and a little bit later) on race day.
This has been one of those little things that has helped me to get a little more excited about the half marathon. I’m already pretty excited. I feel like it is all I talk about lately. It will be here before I know it! The weekend stay also means a mini vacation from the city for me and Drew - something neither of us have had since early July - and adventures in new places. Being a Michigan girl, I find that fall in the city just lacks a little something. No apple orchards and cider mills, no pumpkin patches, and fewer fall colors. But fall in the Hamptons? Don’t mind if I do!
Tonight’s run was kind of brutal - in a good way. The wind was whipping along the Hudson and I had a 4 mile tempo run to complete. I took my usual route and the first half of the run was directly into the wind and it was so tough. I actually considered running half and coming home to finish up the other two miles on the treadmill, but I told myself that I couldn’t bail out and change what I was doing because the weather was a little uncooperative. I will have to deal with whatever weather is handed to me on race day after all. The first two miles were probably slower than they should have been, but with some tail winds and some time to make up, I coasted home and was pleased with my time. I feel like everything is falling into place, and I’m really happy (and incredibly thankful) for that.
If the title wasn’t clear enough, I have one month until my half marathon. ONE. To say that I feel like I need to kick my ass into a new gear would be an understatement. No more missing training runs, and after this weekend, LESS beer, MORE water. I feel like I may become a bit of a hermit over the next few weeks. Often I justify my missing a run with, “you need to have a life outside of running, too,” and while that’s true, it’s not always ok to substitute more fun and social pursuits for my goal of 13.1 miles on October 2nd. It’s time to buckle down and stick to the training plan. (Including the cross-training that I somehow justified skipping last night. Bad Caitlin, bad.)
In other news… I’m battling what seems to be a severe case of allergies or the beginning of a cold. I haven’t decided which. For all I know it’s a severe case of allergies which will give way to a cold. But that’s only if I let it. With a winning combination of vitamin C, ample water, enough sleep, and herbal tea, I’m going to bring this thing to its knees. And if it’s not a cold, then I’ll be nice and hydrated.
I can’t believe that it’s September. (I really wish the weather would feel more September-y.) Knowing my penchant for J.Crew, sweaters, and fall clothes in general, my darling mom emailed to let me know that she picked up two new sweaters for me yesterday! I am beyond excited. Thanks Mom! As I was getting ready for work this morning, I realized that I need to get clothes that fit. My belt that I bought 2 months ago to hold up all of my pants that no longer fit, no longer fits. It’s not a bad problem to have, but it can be an expensive one. Oh well.
Oh, and Michigan football starts in 2 days… akjsdfhlaksjdghfsdf