Monthly Archives: March 2012
For my first week of the taper I had a pretty decent week of running, although my pacing was feeling strange, like I just couldn’t get the rhythm down ever since hurting my ankle, but at least I was able to get my week day runs in. On Friday, I drove down to Charlottesville after work for the beginning of my birthday weekend. Since Matt and I have the same birthday, it makes celebrating together extra special. This year was the 5th birthday that we’ve spent celebrating together, since the first one was when we turned 20 together, wow!
On my birthday I woke up early to find it pouring down rain so I decided I’d have to do my 12 mile run inside on the treadmill, which I wasn’t looking forward to because the treadmill gets so boring. I had bought some more KT Tape Pro, and I decided to basically tape everything that hurt or could possibly hurt as a precaution. I taped my left ankle, my right hip, and my right outer knee (the parts that had been hurting from the extra impact). I actually felt really cool with my pink and green tape, and felt like I looked all hardcore and intense, like a real athlete!
After one boring mile on the treadmill, I decided it was just way too hot in the gym to be inside and there was no way I’d be able to do 12 miles like that, and plus I needed to stop being a baby and shying away from the rain. So I went back to Matt’s real quick to grab my sunglasses and Fuel Belt, and off I went in the rain for the last 11 miles of my run. The rain was bad at first, making it hard to see and making me wish I owned a hat! But after the first 5 miles outside it stopped and the cool air was perfect to run in. I was really glad I decided to move outside instead, sometimes running in the rain is really invigorating.
That night the celebrations began! Matt and I had dinner at the Melting Pot, which he had never been to. It was delicious cheese fondue, followed by salad and then an entree of all sorts of meat (steak, filet mignon, shrimp, BBQ chicken, and lobster tail), and finished off with my favorite, the dessert course. Flaming turtle chocolate fondue with delicious treats to dip in it – Rice Krispie treats, graham cracker-covered marshmallows, Oreo-covered marshmallows, pound cake, cheesecake, brownie, strawberries, and banana slices. Mmmm! That wasn’t the end of it though – on Sunday I had two more celebrations, including the famous brunch at Boar’s Head Inn with Matt and his family, followed by going back home for a family birthday dinner and my mom’s famous chocolate cheesecake for my birthday cake. It was a gourmet, chocolately, delicious birthday that’s for sure.
Thank you so very, very much to everyone who made my birthday super special! First and foremost my mom, for birthing me! My dad, my brother, my Aunt Katie and Uncle Matt and my 3 sweet little cousins, Grama, Poppy, Grampa, Eileen, Mimi, my sweet boyfriend and his family, and my great friends who I got to have board game night with last week! Thanks for making my golden birthday amazing, I love you all so much!
So as the taper continues and the nervousness starts to set in as I have less than TWO WEEKS till the marathon, I must remember all of the work I’ve put in to get this far and how much I’ve been preparing for the day.
The beginning of this week was totally… strange. All of the sudden it seemed like, I was extremely tired, really moody, and reeeeally hungry. I tried running on Tuesday (at 75% reduced mileage as suggested since I was out for a week with 4 weeks till the marathon), which didn’t go as well as I had liked. By Wednesday, I was in 100% mood-swing-engaged mode. I just didn’t know why I was so out of whack. Was it the time change? The move? The new (really long) commute? The fact that I wasn’t able to run last week and was off schedule? It ends up, I wasn’t going crazy, but I am experiencing exercise withdrawal. Yes, it’s a real thing (I didn’t realize it before now)… I’m about to get really science-y:
In 2006, a doctor went out to discover “whether withdrawal of regular aerobic activity provokes depressive mood symptoms and fatigue, and to what extent reductions in fitness levels contribute to the development of these symptoms.” It turns out that “fatigue and somatic depressive symptoms emerged after 1 week of exercise withdrawal and subsequently predicted the development of cognitive-affective depressive symptoms at 2 weeks…” And here is where I had my A-HA moment: “Depressed mood and fatigue are commonly observed in individuals deprived of usual exercise activities, and the increase in fatigue may be partially mediated by reduced fitness levels. These findings may explain mood changes in response to short-term exercise withdrawal such as injuries and recovery from medical procedures that do not require full bedrest.”
Well, that explains all of my symptoms at the beginning of this week… I was out for a week with an ankle injury after 13 solid weeks of marathon training, which ended up being a big, big break in my routine for my mind and body that hit me all at once this week, leaving me feeling insatiable, cranky, and tired. This week also gives me a little bit of (possible) insight into a phenomenon I’ve read about called “post-marathon blues.” If you google it, you will get a tons of hits, like this or this one for instance.
Luckily by Thursday I had a great run, no ankle brace, just KT Tape, and even though the run was short, it was reassuring and good for my confidence. Then on Saturday I had my long run – originally (pre-injury) I would’ve done 20 miles, at 75% reduced mileage I could perhaps do 15 miles. But it was really hot out and I was still easing back in, having only run twice in the past 2 weeks, so I was did 12 miles, and there was no ankle pain, YAY!
It was a mentally tough run, but I did it and didn’t have to stop at any point except for a water refill and bathroom break. And the best part was that at mile 11, Matt joined me for the last mile 🙂 he didn’t like how slow the pace was, but hey, I had been running for hours, so he could go my pace for a mile! It’s definitely harder with his longer legs and he was all fresh, whereas I had just run 11 miles! Even though 12 miles is on the “shorter” end of my long runs, I decided to do an ice bath afterwards as a precaution, and even managed to stay in for 20 minutes, eating pizza, listening to music, browsing Facebook on my phone, anything to pass the icy time.
And now, there are 19 days left until the big day. The last three weeks is all about the taper – so my mileage goes way, way down, but I keep running 4 times a week – this is so that the body has time to recover from the high mileage before going into the race. Getting excited now!
A special shout out some friends that did marathons this weekend! Asta completed the DC Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, and Nicole finished the LA Marathon (her first!) – CONGRATS LADIES! 🙂
One thing I’ve been trying to do, whether running inside on the treadmill or outside, is add lots of hill training, since the marathon will be super hilly (in case you forgot, look at the elevation chart). So, let’s do a quick test. Do me a favor and look at the picture on the right. Put yourself in his shoes, imagine you are running up a giant hill right now, and describe think about your emotions. Are you: (A) Angry, agitated, defeated, miserable, and resentful, or (B) Happy, joyful, blissful, chipper, and thrilled?
If you answered (A), then congratulations, you are a normal human being. If you answered (B), then welcome to my world, pal! I have to add that I haven’t always been “abnormal,” but since I started marathon training, me and hills are best friends (most of the time, all friends have arguments, right? And when the arguments do happen, the hills usually win…)
Anyways, when I’m running in Charlottesville, it’s no problem, I can run literally anywhere and get my hill fill. But when I’m at home it’s a little more difficult, and I have started ravenously seeking out hills…
Despite finding and running as many hills as possible at home, I find that on my runs I get saddened when I feel like I am running on mostly flat/downhill terrain, and I get super happy when I am running uphills. It’s a sickness. Honestly. Most people hate hills.
I sang a short ode to the hills when I ran my most recent 5k, because hill training did wonder for my speed. Running hills is just all around great for you, it gives you more strength, efficiency, and endurance – as long as you’re careful and do it the right way!
In addition, I was feeling so good on my long run on Saturday (my pacing was steady, no cramps, steady heart rate, legs felt good, great weather, the whole nine yards) that I decided around mile 11-12 that I was going to add an extra mile and do 20 miles instead of 19 miles (technically I went a little over 20, because I was just guessing after mile 19 since I hadn’t mapped out 20 miles before on mapmyrun.com). My finishing time was with probably 5 minutes worth of breaks (bathroom, water refill, shoe adjustments) and it all felt super steady and totally do-able. If I had to run more, or if a bear had jumped out at mile 20 and started to chase me, I would in fact still be alive, cause I would’ve been able to run away still.
My training plan had me only running 20 miles once. I am doing the Hal Higdon “Novice 2” program, but the “Intermediate 1” program has two 20 milers, so I figured, you know what, I’m feeling good, and it feels safe to tack on an extra mile here. So I’ll be a step ahead of my plan by doing two 20 milers, the next one being St. Patrick’s Day weekend, which I’ll try to do in Charlottesville if I’m lucky! What has the world come to when getting to run on hills is considered “lucky” in my mind? 🙂