Monday, March 21, 2011

Speed Work

With this being our first marathon, the thought of speed work hasn't even crossed my mind.  If you are new to the running arena, speed work is just that - work to pick up your speed, get faster, increase your pace, etc.  I am hoping that as a result of running the marathon and building up our endurance, that our 5k and 10k races will get a bit of an instant speed boost of which we can continue to build on from there.  In regards to speed work for the marathon, however, the thought really never crossed my mind.

Well...its not that the thought didn't cross my mind, but our main goal is really just to finish.  Beyond that we hope to finish with a time under 4 hours and that doesn't seem very speedy to me.

This Sunday we had what would seem like an effortless 14 mile jaunt, considering the additional miles we have run in Sundays past.  We began our run at a fairly reduced rate, both thinking (but not saying) we were running at the other's pace.  After 3 miles, and 29 minutes later, I told Christian this was extremely slow and that we needed to pick up the pace.  He immediately pointed out, that we were running at my pace.  No, no, no I said, we were running at your pace.  Apparently we were running at a snail's pace and needless to say, we picked it up and ran the next 2 miles in half the time. 

The speed work came into play during the final seven miles when Christian decided I was still running too slowly.  So with words of encouragement we worked on our speed and this is what I heard:

"Mom, we need to run faster"
"Mom, you're running too slow!"
"Mom, run faster!"
"Mom, if we run faster, we can be done."

And that was our speed work.

I really didn't feel like I was running that slowly until the last two miles, when anyone could have walked faster than I was running, or so it seemed.  At that point I did feel the need to apologize for my lack of rapidity. All in all we finished with a 9 minute per mile pace which wasn't too shabby.  I know we can do better going forward, and it is good to get these hiccups out of the way now before the big day.

So, we keep running onward and upward and then about 20 more miles after that as our adventure continues.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Got Energy?

I have to admit that this week is the first time I have felt physically tired for our midweek runs.  We have even had some beautiful spring weather; the kind that really motivates you to get out and go.  I go, but my legs keep wanting to stop.  I am not sure of the cause, perhaps it was the 21 mile run we had on Sunday, or maybe it is the time change, or perhaps it is the fact that I donated blood on Monday.  Whatever the reason, I am tired. 

I am ready for this marathon to be done.  It's not that I'm not looking forward to it, rather, we have been training for so long now, I feel like we should be approaching the finish line.  We often feel as though our lives are on hold and well...we want to get on with life.  My legs are tired and my muscles are sore.  I'm tired of hearing Christian tell me he's tired every Sunday when we begin our run....and half way through....and at the end.

As I mentioned last week we did in fact wake up before the crack of dawn and run 21 miles on Sunday.  We had a great first 11 miles and then I was alone for the final ten.  Apparently, I was "yelling" at Christian.  We'll use the term "yelling" loosely. I was more frustrated and talking loudly.  I wanted to make sure he could hear me.  Our conversation started as a debate surrounding energy gels and chews, when to eat them and how much to have.  It was mostly one sided on my end, since Christian seemed to "know it all" already.  As the discussion picked up I was quickly blamed for all that has gone wrong in our marathon training over the past 6 months. I am sure this must be a mistake as I was able to point out at least one solid fact that pointed to Christian's wrongdoing rather than mine.  Since the truth is sometimes hard to hear, Christian to chose to "run ahead" out of earshot and mostly out of sight.  Truth be told, I couldn't have caught up to him if I wanted to, but that's our secret.  The bottom line is, I am excited for the day (perhaps even 10 years down the road) when he realizes just how smart I really am.  Ahhhh...teenagers. 

All in all the run was pretty decent, but I am glad we typically run together.  The last 4 miles was a little lonely.  I had plenty of energy but the muscle pain began to set in and having a conversation partner would have been nice, even if he is hard of hearing.  We'll do our best to get these tiffs out of our system before the big day....then again you never know, we could be the entertainment.

We're looking forward to some different mileage routines coming up and only one more major long run (over 20 miles) until the big day.  We got some great advice to spice up the routes and go a different way so we don't get sick of the same old thing and it gives our bodies something different to do.
Thanks - E! 

Post any other ideas you have for us as a comment - we'd love to hear from you. I will try not to be so tardy with my post next week.  Thanks for reading! Think Spring and happy running!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thanks to the Cheerleaders

In two months and 1 day, Christian and I will be running in our first marathon.  It really isn't that far away now.  I mean, its only 8 weeks, which sounds a lot closer than two months.  When we are out and about, or in the company of pretty much anyone else, I try not to talk about it too much.  It is getting really exciting and we have been working really hard, but I don't want everyone else to get tired of hearing about it. 

Some might think that all we do is eat, breath and think marathon, and for the most part they are right.  It is an all consuming part of our lives right now. Our first conversations on weekday evenings revolve around our runs, which routes we did and how we felt.  We discuss wake up and leave times for our Sunday morning long runs and how long they might take.  We plan and prepare. We discuss food intake, sore muscles, weather and fatigue. 

Then there are the poor saps who have to listen to us all the time, mainly our family.  I can imagine the same conversations week in and week out must get pretty boring to someone else. I imagine that most would get tired of hearing about it, which is why when I am out and about, or at work or well, anywhere, I really try not to bring it up. Sure, if someone asks we'll engage in the conversation, but I don't want be that person:  an attention-seeking show-off who only talks about themselves.  Good thing I started this blog.

There are, however, those who always ask. There are those people who are getting excited right along with us.  They are our cheerleaders.  They are Christian's friends and some teachers at school.  They are some of my co-workers and friends at the gym.  They are siblings and my spouse.  They are my parents and some neighbors.  They are the friendly workers at the local running store who are genuinely excited that Christian and I are running as a pair.  We have cheerleaders everywhere and we need them, we appreciate them and we are so thankful to have them.  It gets us excited when they are excited (we also know we aren't boring them too). 

When we go out for a run, and the dogs bark their cheers at us, it just makes us run stronger.  When we get the friendly hello and wave from the walker or fellow runner it is inspiring.  When a passing car waves and honks (remember:  2 honks for hello and 3 honks for Christian - see first posts) we can hold our heads up high and feel like we can run forever.  When my husband tells us how awesome it is that not only mother and son, but three generations of our family are running, it motivates us to give it all we've got and then some. 

We have inspired some and we hope to inspire others too.  Its not that we are all that great or anything super fantastic, I just think that if we can do it you can too.  If we can get up at 5am on the Sunday of daylight savings time where we lose an hour so really we are getting up at 4am to go run 21 miles, then you can do it too!  Oops...I guess that is next week's run and post.

I hope you'll join our band of cheerleaders, because we need you.  Make a plan to come on out to watch our run on May 8th.  We are giving you plenty of notice so mark your calendars.  Some co-workers already offered to cheer us on with beer and you think that was in jest?  Whatever will get you out there, we'll take it, we would just would love to see you there and hear your cheers.   Thank you for supporting us - we need you!!

Next week really is a 21 mile run and yes we really do have to get up that early.  It will be a blast, just me, Christian and the stars??   Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Midweek Routine

It seems that most of my posts revolve around our long weekend runs. Which, this Sunday by the way, was 14 miles.  Most likely I focus on them because they are the most challenging.  They also sound the most grand and makes us feel like we are truly accomplishing something.  Our long runs also linger in my mind for most of the week; either I am contemplating the run coming up, or I am commiserating over how I felt the rest of that Sunday.

It is important, however, to note the steady standard we endure each midweek.  We typically run 6 miles on Tuesdays, 8 miles on Wednesdays and 6 miles on Thursdays.  It is amazing how these runs started off as challenging distances but are now our standard, the easy, the routine.  As I have mentioned in the past, Christian usually runs with some friends after school; they run a few miles and he runs 6 or 8.  I run at lunch around town and get the opportunity to incorporate part of the marathon route into my run. 

The midweek mileage changes very little and can sometimes seem boring.  The good thing is that it is a routine and one that we have now mastered.  It is something we can fall back on as "easy" when we have just endured a new long distance.  Its comfortable.  We can feel ourselves getting stronger and faster and if we put things in perspective, the marathon is only four 6 mile routes or only three 8 mile routes.  We can do that!

It's March now, and we only have 2 months and a handful of days until the marathon.  I get excited and then I get a little nervous too. There was a big article in our local paper about the marathon (no, we weren't featured).  Here's the article if you wish to check it out:  Kalamazoo Marathon - Kalamazoo Gazette article.  It is exciting to see that so many people have already signed up, nearly 900 from 40 different states.  Now I am pretty sure we won't be the last ones done! 

We'll be finishing up the midweek routine and looking forward to another recovery week come Sunday.  This is in preparation for our next big leap as we gear up to hit a new record of a 21 mile run in about 15 days.  Keep the faith and Happy Running!