Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Better week than the prior

Maybe it was the rant last week, more likely that I've been able to return to some better eating habits, but my mood regarding running has improved significantly this past week (and no, there's no relationship to my monthly cycle!) After the 16-miler last Saturday, I did 3 on Sunday, strength on Monday, 3 on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday, 3 on Thursday, 14 on Saturday, and 3 on Sunday. Also, I think it started to help when I realized that the marathon is now only 4 weeks away. I have a 22 miler on schedule for this weekend, and then I get to taper!! Whoo-hoo! Finally.

I saw the Spirit of the Marathon last Thursday night. I was cynical at first as to whether it would have any effect on me, but as the movie continued I started to feel more inspired. Especially watching and listening to the elite runners. I liked the line from one of the back-of-the-packers who said that we're literally following in their footsteps.

Looking back, I think that poor eating was the likely culprit of my low energy and cranky attitude these past few weeks. With all the travel I did in January and the first part of February, my eating habits suffered. Not only was I not eating well, I don't think I was eating enough considering the running. I definitely wasn't drinking enough water either. I lost a bit of weight last month - most people wouldn't be able to tell, but I can. I'm not complaining! Just that I'm not really trying to lose weight.

Normally, I'm a relatively healthy eater. First thing each day, I have a piece of wheat toast with coffee while I pour out some frozen fruit to thaw. About mid-morning, I cover the fruit with some plain yogurt and granola and eat it with a glass of O.J. Lunches are generally PB sandwiches (made with this Flaxseed Peanut Butter I found) or something similarly small and healthy. MOB's a healthy eater too (much healthier than me), so the dinners we share are usually home-made meals that include vegetables and often a salad. Plus I generally finish a 2-liter bottle of rasberry-flavored selzer water each day.

I'm not a perfect eater by any means - I have my daily chocolate fix and I'll have whatever I want when out with friends (some rules: rarely, if ever, anything deep-fried and I never drink sodas), but generally, I'm pretty good.

This past week, I've been able to get back to my eating routine and it's amazing how much better I feel.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A runner's dream home

Let's see, how can I advertise my condo on a running blog? Actually, it's not hard considering that that this magnificent property is located one block from Piedmont Park, with great people-watching runner's paths and an 800 meter gravel track. You'll never get bored with the countless different running routes through scenic neighborhoods such as Ansley Park, Morningside, Virginia Highlands, Buckhead (only 3 miles north), Historic Midtown, Little Five Points, Georgia Tech, and Downtown.

The proximity to many popular races either by foot or via Marta can't be beat! Be first to the starting line for the Peachtree Road Race, the ING Georgia Half and Full Marathon, the Atlanta Half and Full Marathon, Shamrock 'n' Roll at Atlantic Station, the Buckhead Sizzler, and many more!

Looking for a running club? There are many to choose from only a short jog away - try Phiddipides in Ansley Square, the Virginia Highlands on Wednesday nights, or the Energy Coffeeshop runners near Atlantic Station.

I ask you, what runner wouldn't want to live in a place like this? :)

Get more info here: https://www.forsalebyowner.com/21462174

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I have PMS (Pre Marathon Syndrome)

I have been experiencing 8 out of these 11 common symptoms of PMS (Pre Marathon Syndrome) for about 3-4 weeks now. Breast swelling is not one of them, unfortunately. It feels wonderful to finally have a name for what I've been going through! Here's some information I found on the internet.

What are the symptoms of PMS?

PMS often includes both physical and emotional symptoms. Common symptoms are:

  • acne
  • breast swelling and tenderness
  • feeling tired
  • having trouble sleeping
  • upset stomach, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • headache or backache
  • appetite changes or food cravings
  • joint or muscle pain
  • trouble concentrating or remembering
  • tension, irritability, mood swings, or crying spells
  • anxiety or depression

What is the treatment for PMS?

Many things have been tried to ease the symptoms of PMS. No treatment works for every runner, so you may need to try different ones to see what works. If your PMS is not so bad that you need to see a doctor, some lifestyle changes may help you feel better. Below are some lifestyle changes that may help ease your symptoms.

  • Take a multivitamin every day that includes 400 micrograms of folic acid. (I have been eating very badly lately, so this isn't a bad idea.)
  • A calcium supplement with vitamin D can help keep bones strong and may help ease some PMS symptoms. (Hmmm, interesting idea.)
  • Exercise regularly. (Sort of a "hair of the dog" approach I guess.)
  • Eat healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (see bullet 1)
  • Avoid salt, sugary foods, caffeine, and alcohol, especially when you are having PMS symptoms. (ONLY as a last resort. And maybe not even then.)
  • Get enough sleep. Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night. (Not a problem. Getting out of a bed has been though.)
  • Find healthy ways to cope with stress. Talk to your friends, exercise, or write in a journal. (How about a blog?)
  • Don’t smoke. (Only if I can keep the salt, sugar, caffeine, & alcohol.)

In the meantime, I'm going to see Spririt of the Marathon tonight. Maybe it will give me motivation. In 3 days, it will be 4 weeks until the marathon. In a little over a week, I'll do my last LONG run before the taper. It's finally creeping up, thank god!! I feel like I've been training forever.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

still a bad runner rant

Suddenly in these past few weeks, I dread running. 60 degrees is too cold to go out. It's too windy. The grey sky is too depressing. My legs are tired. Why did I sign up for another marathon anyway? I don't want to run a marathon. There's too much going on in my life. The cats need me around to help them adjust to their new home. I need to sell my condo. I need to plan a wedding party. I need to plan a wedding ceremony. Running is hard. Running takes time. I'm tired of my same old routes. I'm going to miss my old routes when I move. I hate running during rush hour. Maybe I'll sign up for Oprah's online book club. I'm hungry. I can't run when I'm hungry. I can't run when I'm full. It's too dark to run.

How about that. I actually feel a little better now. Okay, okay, I'm going.

Monday, February 18, 2008

bad runner

I really blew off my training last week. Maybe I let the 20-miler the Saturday before go to my head. In any case, I didn't run again until 5 miles on Thursday and then the 16-miler Saturday. Not surprisingly my pace was back down. Not as bad as 11 minutes, but almost at 10:45.

It's possible the carb-loading I did before the 20-miler may have helped my pace as well. I usually forget about what I'm eating and how it impacts my running.

On the bright side, I have been very good about doing my strength training every Monday and am getting stronger. I can now actually DO some of the moves that seemed physically impossible when I started about a month and a half ago. I may be able to run long distances, but I am as strong as a two-year old.

In unrelated news, the cats were officially moved into MOB's place over the weekend and I'll be putting my cozy, wonderful condo out on this beast of a market. My "Midtown Life" will soon be behind me. It's kind of a significant point in all of our lives. You would think with all of this change going on, I'd have lots to post about, but it seems to have the opposite effect on me.

The new life is going to be terrific and I'm so looking forward to finally getting things resettled. Maybe I'm afraid that if I post about all the unsettling of my old life, it will seem that I don't appreciate what's ahead. In any case, we're getting closer day by day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

On the sidelines

For the first time ever, I was on the sidelines cheering someone else on at a race this past weekend. It was odd to stand around near the starting area on the wrong side of the fence, but kind of enjoyable to experience the thrill of a race by proxy - without having to sweat for it. The hardest thing I had to do was clap my bare hands in the cold weather. (My fingers were pruned and numb just from the cold! I'm really sensitive to cold - have I mentioned that yet??)

Luckily, MOB was running the half-marathon, so I didn't have to wait too long. (He came in 125th overall! That's my guy! :)

And I got to witness a neck and neck, back and forth fight for the finish line of the half. You can watch video of it: click here. They went by in a flash. You can kind of make me out in my tan jacket on the right of the screen at the very very beginning of the video. Don't look too hard though or you may strain your eyes.

Birmingham is a very very quiet town on the weekend, but I will give it kudos for being very clean and having a working trolley down the main street. Birmingham didn't even exist as a city until 1871 and grew up as a steel town. Don't know why I thought it was around longer than that. The free, donation only, art museum was worth a visit.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The hills didn't get me today

I felt so much better running my 20-miler today than I did on last week's 18-miler that at one point I even started to wonder of I had accidentally mapped out a shorter route, but that wasn't the case. It was just a better run.

Last week's 18-miler time: 3 hrs 18 min, a 11 min pace
This week's 20-miler time: 3 hrs 31 min, a 10:33 min pace

Go figure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

20 miler coming up!

Here's the run on the menu for Saturday... then we jump into a car to go to Birmingham for MOB's Half Marathon on Sunday. I'm looking forward to cheering MOB on - I think this will be the first race of his since I've known him that I'm not also in...

Monday, February 4, 2008

What happened to my pace?

My long runs have been abysmally slow these past few weeks. I feel like I'm in a lot better shape now than I was for either of the two previous marathons I did, but it's not showing in my time. Granted, the routes I'm running are maybe 10x hillier than those races were.

At this rate, I don't think I can hope to match the 10:10 minute pace (4.26) that I managed in my first marathon. I don't even think I can match the 10:38 pace (4.39) I managed in my second marathon- the one in which I hurt my knee right after passing the half-way mark. In that one, I held back tears as I miserably forced myself to run/walk through the pain for 2 1/2 hours until I reached the finish line.

My hope going into that second marathon was to finish it in 4 hours. I felt so ready and I wasn't far off my target at the halfway point. It was a flat flat course. It's that sense of regret for how badly that second half went that has been driving me to want to do just one more marathon and finish strong this time - maybe not fast, but at least not in tears.

These hills are killing me. I know I'm going to be slow, but I hope that at least by training on the race route, I'll have a measure of protection against injury. And when this race is over, there will be nothing but shorter races and strong legs that I can work on speed with.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Everything's just fine...

I've long since learned that when my non-runner friends and family ask me how my running is going, they're just being polite. They really don't want to hear about my pace, the hilly routes, my running shoes... I've learned that the best answer is simply "Fine, thanks."

That lesson now needs to be applied to the question I am getting these days "How are your wedding plans going?" Yesterday, I found myself responding with an explanation of how I designed and redesigned my wedding invitations, triumphantly located good, cheap paper after hours of searching the internet, and finally finished them with a red ribbon and a wax seal.

Considering how much time and thought I put into them, it seemed noteworthy enough to me. However, that moment of awkward silence that followed my answer brought the familiar lesson home to me. "Fine thanks" will do in the future!