Friday, 30 April 2010

Slightly unsatisfying run. I stayed up too late, got up too early, and ate too close to heading out. Legs felt fatigued, hip flexor started hurting. Adjusted my pace and my attitude - I am where I am. Had wanted to run at a faster pace, but I did fine. A nice run overall.

0:07:08 1,00 7:08

3 0:07:14 1,00 7:14

4 0:07:14 1,00 7:14

5 0:07:19 1,00 7:19

6 0:09:11 1,00 9:11

0:07:37 ave pace

I spent the morning organising my training material, journaling about the marathon and reading one of the tri training books. Figured out how to upload my Garmin reports into Training Peaks which is an online training journal that I've been trying to figure out how to use for ages!

Tomorrow's plan is a group ride: distance between 50 - 75 km, hopefully through the bulb fields (the photo above).

Training for the Bustinskin Triathlon has many components:

Swim: I will swim 2 -3 times a week, at least twice with my tri-club, focusing on technique first, then speed. Within a couple weeks, I will add a weekly open water swim.

Bike: I'm still thinking about this. Overdistance weekend rides. The tri-club trains in the evenings during the week, which doesn't fit with my desire to be with my family in the evenings. So that leaves mornings or lunchtime workouts. I haven't finished Carmichael's book, but I think his workouts will kick my ass. I need to figure out how to do "hill training" in a flat country. I decided not to go to the workshop this weekend since my Dutch isn't good enough and I'd rather train anyway.

Run: I have the endurance I want, and need to maintain it. I want to increase my speed and work on my POSE technique. I plan to follow the half marathon program from FIRST, which will also kick my ass since it's rather intensive in the pacing department.

I felt like a drug addict running today, addicted to my walk breaks. Coaches leave their mark on their trainees. My body has adapted to walk breaks while running. My e-coaching program is up this week. I want a different emphasis - more speed-work and a more rounded overall program. He discourages stretching, yoga and weight training. I have progressed beautifully over the last year. The next year I want to add core strength and balance. I love the look of some triathletes.

Nutrition: I've been haphazard the last couple weeks and have been eating wheat and oatmeal. My skin has broken out and I've gained a couple pounds. This is bothering me a lot. I've turned the page and I'm Endurance Paleo for the next 20 weeks. Lean and healthy. Tomorrow I'll weigh & measure myself.

Mental Training: an essential discipline. I aspire to a meditation practice.

Core performance: flexibility, balance, regeneration & yoga. I'm following the Endurance training program from Core Performance.

Well, that's all for now. I'm burning daylight.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Recovery Week #3 26 Apr 2010

Monday 26 Apr 10:  rest day. Works well after a busy weekend.

"What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the day gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate."

John Bingham, runner

Tues 27 Apr 10

Swim: completed 1000m swim test.

Coach has my time. I felt slow, nervous, dis-organised, out of breath. I calmed myself. Relaxed in the water. Tried to remember TI stroke tips.  I am proud of myself for completing the test. 40 laps - longer than I've ever swum continuously before.

I swam the whole distance continuously. Mostly freestyle. Some breaststroke. No backstroke or sidestroke (which is an improvement from where I was years ago, and would use these to rest while moving). My coach recorded the time. I don't know what it is yet, but it doesn't matter. It's more a bench mark against future swims. I was a lot slower than the other tri-team swimmers, but so what. I have nothing but a recreational swimming background. Which is plenty.

I am really pleased I could swim the whole distance. I have good mental skills to deal with negative self-talk and calming myself when I can't seem to catch my breath. I think I will improve a lot over the next 21 weeks. Nothing but fun ahead.

It's tough to swim so late at night. I was wakeful until past 1:00 a.m.  Plus it's a balance to find the right dinner, early enough so I don't have a stomach ache during the swim.
Soreness: some delayed soreness from cycling on Sunday
Mental Focus: Productive and focused during the day.

Wed 28 Apr 10 - Nathaniel turns 11!  Take the day off from work.
6 hrs sleep

Easy recovery Run
4,81 km

Avg HR: 135 bpm

Moving Time: 0:41:26

Avg Moving 08:37

Core Performance: Done

Thursday 29 April
A little tired today. Did Core body work following the Endurance program. Will need to find substitutes for strength training moves requiring a machine, like the cable rows and stuff.  And I need heavier dumbbells.

Skipped rope for cardio. Will do a little more on the dog walk tonight.
Glad to have a three-day weekend. Long live the Queen.
Tomorrow: time to put the planning pieces together for the next 20 weeks.

second run: tempo
6.8k (1 warm up & cool down, 5k on pace - between 7:09 and 7:20. walked the last k at 9 to rest my hip flexor.

core workout

Saturday, 24 April 2010

recovery run #2

1. Distance Assigned: 10k  Ran 10k in 1:19 plus warm up and cool down walking totaling 1.5km. 20 degrees C and sunny. The return of warm weather running.

2. Pace Assigned: none.  Ran: I aimed for 7;30/km; I averaged 7:54 for the running portion.  Half of it was on the beach in wet sand. So I slowed down because it required greater effort.  

3. Walk Breaks Assigned: none specified.  Ran:  typically 30/30. sometimes 30/1:00  Sometimes I ran for 100 meters and walked for 100 meters.  The last two km I ran at a steady 7:30 pace without walk breaks

4. Speed work: n/a

5. Aches & Pains: I got to meet a new muscle today - the muscle on the front outside of my right shin (lower leg). This is one that has in the past hurt after very long hikes or skiing.  Around 5km it was painful and visibly swollen, causing a spider web of nerve pain in the top of my foot. I stopped and massaged the muscle, rotated my ankle, walked a bit and then stretched my hamstrings and calves and dorsiflexed my foot, trying to "listen" to what was needed.  I walked it out and took short intervals, and it subsided.  I arrived at the sea by about 6km and waded in the water, which is VERY cold and that helped the swelling to dissipate.    My right hip flexor was "present" but not uncomfortable.  I pulled it again the other night while walking my dog - he lunged on the leash and I twisted while my right foot was planted. (Stupid dog). It's fine though.    I continue to be easily fatigued and very tired at night.

6. Questions: you asked me to think about goals.  where to go from here.  My "race calendar" for the rest of  this year is oriented around preparing for two triathlons.  I have an Olympic distance triathlon on 13 June (10 k running) and a Middle Distance Triathlon on 26 September (half marathon running). I will be in the United States in July visiting family.

Spring:  I had thought about running the same10k race I ran last year in the Hague again - it's mid-May, but I'm not yet in the mood for another race. I can register at the last minute if the urge strikes me. 

Looking at the fall, I had a lot of fun in Amsterdam, and thought it might be fun to do the half again there, or the whole marathon - but I think I'll still be recovering from the Middle Distance tri in September. Too soon. And then the season here shuts fairly quickly. I'll probably repeat the local fun runs on the beach over the winter.

Running goals: I like the half marathon distance since the training is not so time-consuming.  Getting ready for Rotterdam, I had a mental block getting started on runs longer than 30 km since I run so slowly,  The long runs chewed up the better part of a whole day, and sometimes I'd get bored in the middle and think about things I'd rather be doing at home with my kids.  I'd like to continue to improve my skills and strengthen my legs.  I'd like to to improve my speed, while maintaining my endurance levels.  I wonder whether that's like burning both ends of the candle!  my 16 year old son came out to run with me on my last training run before the marathon. We did an easy 8 k - he can run much faster than I can, but I can run longer. He stayed at my pace and took walk breaks with me.  Not surprisingly, the next day he was Ouching around the house. 

What are your thoughts? Thanks again. Your coaching has given me the gift of running, which brings me so much joy in my life.

7. Next Week's assignment: "anything I want"

Thursday, 22 April 2010

race day nutrition

I wrote up some thoughts for my friend Emily that might be useful to post here.

I promised some pre-race & race day fueling ideas. These are from Joel Friel's Paleo Diet for Athletes, and what I learned from Jeff Galloway. Also Dean Karnases' 50 Marathons in 50 Days (insane, but he did them). He has a free download from his audio book.

The key is to practice & experiment during training and then to do nothing new on race day. No sampling of free yogurt drinks at the start..... :)

Take a look at Dean's three-day countdown. I would emphasize drinking a lot of water during the days leading up to the race. It will help your body store more glycogen and your muscles will work better. There's only so much you can absorb the morning of the race without ending up with a full bladder and no pot.

When you wake up on race morning: right away, drink 700 ml water and eat 150 calories of carbs (pre-race fueling); then eat 200-300 calories per hour up until an hour before the race: mostly carbs (no dairy) (the longer before the race, the lower glycemic load - in other words, don't crash!).  Examples of what to eat: low fiber; high Branch-Chain Amino Acids (egg whites; protein powder with applesauce) - (jarred baby food) Bananas. Not berries (too much fiber). Drink water. Some people like to eat meal replacements like Ensure. (groan).

In the last hour: drink only water. No more food.

10 minutes before the start: high glycemic fluid - 100-200 calories of sports drink/juice/honey water or water + go-gel.

During the race: It depends on the duration of the race: under 90 minutes: goal is to prevent dehydration: 4 oz water per 10 minutes. Avoid solids & gels. @ 1 hour: maybe a carb drink. Research is contradictory.
**edited to add: this number seems too high. I'll have to go back and check.  I've read often that the point is to drink enough to replenish water lost through sweat, but to not gain weight during the event. So, weigh yourself before & after training runs under race-like conditions to see how much you sweat. I never tried this, but it seems like a good idea.

90 min - 4 hours: 800 ml fluid per hour. If maximum intensity: 200-300 cal/hour, divided into equal doses every 10-20 minutes. At least 1 calorie per pound of body weight per hour. This means 50-75 calories every 15 minutes. If Gel = 100 cal + 8 oz water. Some say that products like accelerade, which mixes protein into the carbs, work better. I've found similar kinds of mixes here. So for me: 1100 calories to eat during a 5.5 hour race.

After the race - recharge within 30 minutes - makes recovery easier. I usually eat a smoothie (carb & protein mix). I have a recipe for this, but I can't find it in my training journal. Holler if you want this too.

I have to admit, after 4 -5 gel packs, I want to puke. And during the marathon I felt slightly sick to my stomach from trying to consume enough to fuel my effort. During my training runs, I was happy to eat bananas, dates, and stuff like that. I did not want anything in my stomach during races, though. I switched to apple juice and sweetened black tea.

Always - this advice depends on your body, not mine. You might process fuel faster, sweat more, sweat less, whatever. See how it goes.

And be sure  look at the recommendations of how much fluid to drink during a long race. Not too much and not too little.

Wishing you success!

getting started

My friend Julie asked me how to get started running. I gave a cheeky answer:
Lace up your shoes. Go out the door. Run.
I forgot the first step actually, which is to believe in yourself.  I started running regularly in the late fall of 2008. In what seemed like a fit of madness at the time, in December 2008, I signed up for a  10k race through my gym, which was offering a weekly group run to train for the race over three months.  I could not have imagined that I would run a marathon. Ever.  I enjoyed the 10k race so much, I continued to set bigger and bigger goals.  Every time the schedule called for me to run further than ever before, I had to break down a mental barrier and open my mind to the possibility and then the reality that I could do it.

Need help finding a race?  Check out the Guide to marathons.

My friend Tom put together a great list of tips for beginners on his blog, Running my way thin.  Some other resources I found helpful:

Jeff Galloway's website and books offer a wealth of information, training schedules and advice.  I have enjoyed Jeff's e-coaching program over the last year. Jeff teaches a philosophy of enjoying every run and trains runners conservatively to avoid injury.

Hal Higdon offers a free learn-to-run course with instructions delivered by email.  Here's his website.

I run three times a week. In the beginning, I was suffering from knee pain. Jeff recommended limiting the frequency of my runs. I've eliminated the knee pain by increasing my leg strength (squats, lunges, weight loss) and taking regular walk breaks.  I also prefer running barefoot on hard-pack trails.  However, when the weather got cold, I put my shoes back on. I went through 3-4 pairs of different brands before I found some that worked. I really like Mizuno Wave.

Keeping a training log helped me watch my progress.  Gmap pedometer can tell you how far you ran. Map My Run is also a great free resource and offers an on-line training log.   I treated myself to a Garmin GPS watch last fall. It's helped my training a lot, since it provides me with pacing information.

The last point I wanted to offer is to keep going.  Often I find the first 20  minutes of a run are uncomfortable. Walking 5-10 minutes first seems to make the transition from sitting still to running easier.  But sometimes it seems like my legs forgot how to run during the first 15 minutes.  I think a lot of people quit running too soon. When I press on, my body adapts and I start to really enjoy it.  I've found the sweet spot for my running is longer than 45 minutes. 90 minutes is even nicer.  If you decide to train for a marathon, I recommend following Jeff Galloway's advice and running the full distance at a much slower than race pace.  I think it would have made my marathon easier if I had been able to complete the last long run (42). Every time I've run further than ever before, my body knew when I stepped into "new territory" and that part of the run is easier next time.

Good luck and enjoy every run!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The end of suffering

In my household, I handle most of the financial paperwork. Non-resident US citizens get to file in June. I tried to get my return put together today. But realised that I had deleted inadvertently last year's return, which has information I need. And managed to delete it before getting the current back up routine established.  And I get statements on-line, which means I need to remember the log-ins and passwords once a year. And the sun was glaring on the computer, and the battery was dead on the control for the sun shade. and and and...

I spent more than three hours today trying to get started. The level of dis-organisation made it more difficult. I'm taking notes how to improve the process for next year.

I ended up feeling a little guilty for being so reliable with  my training and nutrition  - that maybe I'm neglecting my financial health. I was thinking about this at New Years too. But I can't view it as either or. I can use my self-care skills to improve my attention to my finances.  I made a list of ideas to make next year's return easier. And I gave  myself a break when I kept running into walls.  I went out for a five k run  with lots of walking warm-up and cool down and 200 m intervals at a fast pace - 4:30 - 5:00/km. with 200m Rest intervals.

I felt better when I came back. My hip muscles didn't start bothering me until 25 minutes into the run, at which point I stopped running the intervals. This was supposed to be an easy recovery run. It was, but I spiced it up a little, listening carefully to how it felt.

I felt so upset at my lack of progress this afternoon on my paperwork.  Some of the semi-chaos relates to working too many hours at work, and not paying close enough attention to stuff that runs on auto-pilot for most of the year. I thought about how my own attitudes and habits really contribute to this.

I could have (as in the past) hunkered down and used this as an excuse not to exercise. I am proud of choosing to out for a run instead.

I was unable to resist the caramel ice cream on a stick that Nathaniel handed me however. He had taken a bite and decided he didn't like it. You eat it, he says. I happen to like caramel a lot. So I obliged him.  The price of being the mom, I suppose.

Post-Marathon Recovery Week #2

Monday: rest. Really. Nothing. I was going to do the core routine, but went to sleep instead. A good choice.

Tuesday: 30 minute walk home from work. One hour swimming laps. I felt really tired this evening and wanted to skip. But I didn't. I am glad.

I decided April would be focus on swim, add some bike. Easy run. I'm working my way through Kearns' Breakthrough Triathlon Training. Essentially, don't be a butt-head and burn out.

I'm back into wondering what to eat. I want someone to plan, shop and cook for me. That would be easier. Oh, let me qualify that - cook food that I like. Otherwise, it's like being 10 again and getting told, that's what's for dinner.  (However, I do like liver and onions now.)

Wednesday: gentle run, core & bike ride.  I ran & rode. I slept. No core work. Just sleep.

Thursday: more core. Maybe a row.  Silly one. No core. No row. Sleep.

Friday: swim, run  I went to a party and had fun talking to people. No swim. Yes Bike. No Run.

Sat: cycle  Switched = since I didn't run Friday, I ran Saturday. 10 k plus 1.5km walking
Sun 10 km run; core.  Core & Cycle planned.  Fatigue is the name of this week.  Did the core workout and 45 minute ride. 

Will do:
  • Read more of carmichael's 6-hour book. done some of this
  • Finish the TI book and watch the rest of the video.  not yet - before Tuesday
  • Look for a free-swim pool opportunity to try some of the TI drills. not yet
  • Birthday shopping for the soon-to-be 11 y.o. not yet
  • Get the Boretti cycle on my calendar. done
  • Look into renting a tri-wetsuit for the Amsterdam Oly not yet.  
  • Read the Bustinskin instructions not yet

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Post-Marathon Recovery Week #1

I have one eye on the calendar of upcoming events. The other looks inward to check on how my body is recovering from the marathon. Running 26.2 was the most physically difficult activity that I've ever done. I'm pretty tired, both mentally and physically.  In my inexperience, I didn't give any thought to how many days/weeks recovering from a marathon would take me.  I'm a little concerned that the Amsterdam Oly will come too soon in my training. I've pretty much decided not to run the Royal 10, since road races probably won't really add anything to my training. I can decide later.

Monday: barely ambulatory. Can't climb stairs normally.  Right adductor? hip flexor hurts. Craving protein and fat, especially red meat.  30 minute walk.
Tuesday: better, but still wobbly on my feet. Core workout; foam roller. 45 minute walk. Skip swimming.
Wednesday: regaining my senses. 4 k easy run.
Thursday: hugely tired.  Went to bed without dinner.
Friday: better. 6 km Bike to work. Legs fatigue easily. Business dinner.
Saturday: 6+10+7  km on the bike. Legs fatigue easily. Work all day. Blech. Business dinner.
Sunday: 9.2 km, of which 6 km are running. Remainder walking.  30/30 walk ratio; I aimed for ~730 pace. First several km were 7:19 - 7:30.  Hip started hurting, so I slowed the pace to 8 & 9 for the remaining two km.  Plus 6 km biking.

Thoughts on Tri-Training. I'm a little anxious about the amount of learning I need to do.  Swimming will be fine. I'm already in a good twice a week routine. I would like to add a day of doing TI drills at a pool where I can stand. I have skipped the last four practices though in order to taper for & then recover from the marathon.

Biking.  Hm.  The Carmichael book is written for the former 20-something hot shot, only twenty years later. It assumes a level of knowledge about bike racing that I don't have. It extols the virtue of a power meter.  I'm going to check in with my bike shop and see what they sell/say about this.  My Garmin really helps my running. So I assume a power meter would probably help me analyse my cycling. But learning curve.  When I feel good about my legs again, I would like to try the tri-training with the club and go for some more group rides.  I have a Sunday club I can ride with if I want more distance.   I can ride in the mornings. It's light enough and the weather is nice(r).

edited 21 Apr to add: I got a little further into the book: Following a lengthy discussion extolling the virtues of power meter training, finally the truth: "power meters are still quite expensive ($1,000 to $3,000), and it's unrealistic to expect all cyclists to invest in  them". Ya' Think?  I'm thinking I bought the wrong book. Maybe the book is still useful. The rest of the truth: "The truth is, in terms of effectiveness,  the difference between training with power  and with heart rate is a matter of degree."   Blah blah blah.  Oh, and I hate abbreviations. Jargon adds so much unnecessary distance between writer and reader.

Running. I would like to run faster. That makes me ask myself why, and whether I am willing to do what it takes. The First program could help me do this, I think. I have the endurance I need, but not the speed. And I'm not quite sure where to find my "entry" level in First - since my paces are hardly on their charts, but I trained well and ran a marathon (and two halfs, and two 16ks in the last year).

Core training: one weakness I have identified is focusing only on running and skipping the gym/lifting.  I'm putting my desire to learn Cross-Fit on hold. Basically, I'm finding it too difficult to teach myself, in addition to the other activities I like. And I'm quitting my gym membership to save money. So no Oly weight-lifting.  To make up for these deficiencies, I'm following the workouts I have in the book Core Performance. I really like them. I can do them at home. And they're oriented for sports/functional fitness. I am confident these workouts will help my tri-sports tremendously.

Nutrition:  get leaner. Be deliberate about planning & packing my meals. No grazing.

Putting it all together. I need to settle on a tri-specific training plan or cobble together my own bits & pieces, and see how it goes.  I have my eye on the number of training weeks remaining. It's okay and recovery is essential.  I don't want the hip thing to turn into an injury that dogs me this year.  The other piece is mental training. Daily sitting or walking meditation and working my way through the exercises in Working Out Working Within.  The pieces from that book that I brought on the marathon really helped me.

Next week's Assigned Run: 10 km.

Next week: Core workouts x3; swimming x2; three key runs; and I'll think about throwing a morning cycle into the route.  The weather's cooperating right now. And I just love to ride my bike.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

things that worked

Fortis Marathon Rotterdam 2010 from Like2Run on Vimeo.

In no particular order and without stopping to do a major re-write, here are some thoughts about what worked on Sunday.
  1. Taper, dammit. I felt like a caged animal. but prep for an endurance event comes over time. no cramming. I figure it's like building a stone foundation. Every day the quarry is open, you get to go pick up one stone if you follow your plan (Work + Rest = Success).  If you skip, you don't get one of the stones you need to build that foundation. Come race day, you got as many stones as you earned.  No more. It's too late to catch up, and if there's leftover stones in the quarry or holes in your foundation, too bad so sad, the race is gonna suck.
  2. Be strategic in your race plan. a conservative strategy can overcome some deficits in training, but it will still suck a little bit.  I was really sceptical of the idea of running intervals of no more than 15 seconds and then walking for 30 seconds for the first 15 k.  My timer dropped off my belt, and I probably ran slightly longer intervals (counting four paces to the count of 15).  But it worked. I was fast and it felt effortless for the first half.  I knew I was running too fast, but I felt greedy to put time in the bank. I had difficulty really imagining that I could do the whole thing. Jeff had commented that I might hit the wall at 30k since that was my longest run, when I had been assigned 42. And I hadn't done the previous assigned long runs (no 30 k, no 35 k and no 33k). I had my excuses (including the shaggy knee), but frankly speaking, the long runs intimidated me. They don't anymore.  Even 42.2 - piece of cake!
My coach commented:
You had an exceptional run.  You dug down and found the resources that you have always had.  Only when challenged are you likely to learn how to find them. 
If you had done the 42K run, you would not have had so much of a struggle.
Your early pace was too fast--for the first 15K.  This cost you at the end.
We'll see if I do another one, and if doing more of the long runs (I missed basically most of them this winter) means less of a struggle.  At work today, the chief asked me when I planned to do the next one.  I joked that most women wanted only one child - and to ask me when the baby was a little bigger.

3. Surround yourself with stories of triumph. Endurance events require managing your mindset.  I listened to and loved Born to Run and 50/50, Dean K's insane tale of running 50 marathons in 50 days.  I also listened to an interview with a guy who ran nearly 400 miles in something like 8 days. These stories taught me that belief in what is possible makes it possible. Or perhaps the opposite is true - if you don't believe it, you'll never see it.  Believing is Seeing.

4. Do the mental training. I thought repeatedly of the quote from General Patton that tiredness lives in the mind.  And the body will do what the mind tells it.  During the race, I knew my heart rate was fine. I told my body we were doing it. And we did.  I drew on my experiences doing another difficult task: childbirth - the only thing I can compare to that was when I crushed two fingers in between panels of a garage door. The sustained pain reminded me of giving birth.  (My husband was particularly impressed when I relieved the pain by burning holes in the tops of my nails with the end of a paper clip that I had heated with a match.)    Your body will go only as far as your mind thinks it can.

5. Know the deeper why:  doing something this big on a whim might leave you struggling when it gets tough.  I spent some time trying to answer this question.  During the middle of the training, many of my friends will recall that I wanted to quit.  I am pumped about my goals for the summer and fall and thought training for the marathon was turning into a distraction. The long slow distance runs are very time consuming, particularly for someone like me who runs slowly - and my coach's advice for LSD is you can't run them too slowly.  One of the motivations was a sceptical remark my husband made last year. (I'm vaguely recalling a similar kind of remark kicked me into wanting to do an ironman.....)  When I was wobbling, my friends and my husband all said to me, Only you can decide what this means to you.  I decided the point was to explore my human capacity - to see who I am - to learn about myself.

6. Stop thinking so much about yourself.  After I figured out the deeper why, it just seemed a bit shallow. I remember the morning of my argument before the US Supreme Court. The moment had arrived, culminating nearly a year of intense preparation. I felt like a guitar string - I could hardly relax my body.  Anyway, I watched the sun rise and remembered that I was there to advocate for another human being -that I was merely a channel, that it was not about me, my argument, my performance - Ultimately, it was about freeing 2000 people being detained because they were stateless, not because they were criminals. And I began to sing and ask for grace.  I aced the argument.

Well, for the run, I remembered how much strength I drew in Amsterdam because I was running for Rachel.  In March, the CPC was about running for a time goal and I felt like the race was a disaster since I missed the cut-off for an official finish. So I decided to take the focus off myself and to dedicate the merit to Elham Mahdi's memory.   I ran with her all the way. The little plastic rabbit beads on the shoe lace bounced in time to my steps the whole race. It was like a platoon marching. And I conversed with Elham throughout the race, particularly just after finishing the first half - which was the most difficult and painful part of the race for me.  (left foot and right hip).   Being able to draw on something more important than myself helped me. Without it, I probably would have just gone home.

7.  Leverage your integrity.  In truth, there's no way I could have gone home - I told too many people I was doing this race.  This is something that worked really well for me on the hard parts of the course - and for the CPC in March too. No way you can quit when you've told everyone you're doing it.  I admit to thinking about how I could withdraw due to the hip pain, and everyone would understand. But no way. I remembered that there would be a time during the race when I would have to decide to gut it out, and I did.
“Success is how you bounce on the bottom.”
8.  Mentally rehearse.  I planned how I would react to bad stuff.  I thought through having my stupid watch freeze up. It turns out that it did, and required a hard reset. (But my planned 44k workout was still there.)  I also "flew" over the course on Google Earth several times the night before the race. At the time, I was questioning whether going to bed would help me more. But I remembered that watching the course video of the Paris-Versailles race helped me to visualize climbing the incredible hill on that race.  So I "flew" over the course, thinking through my strategies at every segment.  I had run most of the course in practice. (That also helped).  I told myself when I got to the North loop (30k to 36k), I would draw strength from the water and the trees in the park.  I also had some mental tricks up my sleeve. Doing the walk-run intervals brought me up close to the runners ahead of me, only to put some distance in between us as I shifted to a walk. I used this to my advantage by imagining a fishing reel that I cast & hooked onto the runner in front of me. I reeled myself in with each run. It felt easier.

9.  Use the crowd.  There were thousands of spectators cheering along the course. Lots of kids wanting to give me high fives.  I decided I would intentionally receive or take the energy being offered to me by these people. And when I gave high gives to the kids, I drew in their energy.

10. Plan your nutrition for the days leading up to the race. By the time I finished the race, the tent where we stored our bags and changed clothing was pretty empty.  I arrived even later since I went to the wrong tent first.  A fellow sat on the bench near me and we started to chat.  Turns out he had a fast run but then spent a couple hours in the Red Cross tent getting fluids by IV.  He hadn't prepared for the race by drinking water before the race.  He had terrible leg cramps as a result  I purposefully drank water all day Friday and Saturday, and ate really well all week long.  I educated myself on what to eat and not to eat in the days and hours leading up to the race. And I practiced on my long runs. And I drank enough water  - there's only so much you can do on race day. 

Well, that's enough. Ten points. And I need to go to sleep. Rest and recovery this week. Not blogging.    

PS. Below is the picture of the winner Patrick Makau and Natasja Pompen, the last to finish. She's also a winner.  She ran deliberately to be the last to finish. I ran faster than she did. On purpose.  I felt a little jealous afterwards when I saw all the publicity. But it wasn't my turn. I ran for my goal - a 5:30 finish. And I achieved it.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Stories from Rotterdam

Success in Rotterdam. I ran the marathon in 5:30. It was a fabulous experience. I was quite exhausted last night and spent the evening rolled in a blanket on the couch with my kids.

I will write more about the experience and post it. But I'm back at work this morning, hobbling around. Good news is no blisters or black toe nails. My right hip flexors are a little painful, and when standing I can feel a symphony of muscles, tendons and what not that hold my skeleton upright. Quite interesting to become acquainted with the miraculous body.

Running in the memory of Elham Mahdi got me through the most difficult parts of the run. I wondered if she played with dolls, if her mother dressed her for her wedding, what dreams she held - I asked her to see the Rotterdam marathon through my eyes. I thought of the three days of her suffering before she finally died of her injuries. With that in mind, the aches and pains and challenges of running a marathon were greatly diminished. I felt her anguish or what I could imagine of it. And when I had the opportunity for the TV news interviewing the last runners on the course, I explained that I wanted to raise awareness of the danger to children when they are forced into marriage -that was why I was wearing the yellow shoe lace around my neck decorated with a dozen colorful tiny plastic rabbits.

So, there's one of the many stories from Sunday. There are so many more!

Success in Rotterdam

AfstandFortis Marathon Rotterdam
Totaal plaats7842 / 7856
Categorie plaats267 / 267
Snelheid7,667 km/uur
Bruto tijd5:33:31
Netto tijd5:30:13
Netto tussentijden (verschil)
5 kilometer36:20 (36:20)
10 kilometer1:13:04 (36:44)
15 kilometer1:49:47 (36:43)
20 kilometer2:29:18 (39:31)
Halve marathon2:39:55
25 kilometer3:13:32 (44:14)
30 kilometer3:56:33 (43:01)
35 kilometer4:36:43 (40:10)
40 kilometer5:14:53 (38:10)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Find the why

Mental strength to complete a marathon rests in the reason for running.  You must be able to dig deep in the face of difficulties and motivate yourself to continue.  I chose and trained for a marathon to explore my human capacity.  Many times I have said I run because I can.  Tomorrow I will run because I am a woman. I can run safely in my own community.    I am dedicating my run tomorrow to the girls and women of the world who are left vulnerable to gender-based violence by their communities.
I was stunned this morning to learn of the death of child bride Elham Mahdi. She died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after an arranged marriage to a man more than twice her age.  There are many news reports. you can read a CNN report here, and a Canadian charity report here.  
I was born a woman in a time and place where many women are not safe. I grieve the loss of a spirit sister. Ms Mahdi has had her life stolen.  I grieve for the children and grandchildren she will never have.

 In the killing one person, the whole world dies.

What alarms me about Ms Mahdi's death perhaps most of all is that the political discourse has focused on child marriage rather than the right to say no to unwanted sexual intercourse.   CNN offers this quote from UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.  "Her death is 'a painful reminder of the risks girls face when they are married too soon,' Kaag said Thursday." 

Ms Mahdi's death must not serve only as a "painful reminder", but a call to anyone with a beating heart to take action.  The issue is not just about protecting children from premature marriage but also protecting girls and women from rape.   Although Ms Mahdi's husband has been arrested following her death, he may  yet go free.  Yemen has no laws to protect women who are raped by their husbands. 

When even one of us is oppressed, no one of us is free.

I will write Ms Mahdi's name on a bright yellow shoe lace to carry during the race. May I have courage and honor her memory in my effort to be the best I can be. 

Below is the Rotterdam mosque.

POSE running and Me.

Rotterdam is looking race ready. I have a bunch of pix on my phone but I'm clueless as to how to get them off the phone and onto the computer. (I usually email them to myself, but the network is very slow.) Sorry! Yesterday I saw again the new vibram running shoes - phantoms, since they're still not on the market. I saw them first last October.

I've done my stretching and light weight training already. The physioball and pilates mat arrived in the mail Friday. I'm quite pleased. Nearly all the creature comforts are in place in my home workout studio.

So you might remember I got some coaching on the POSE running technique. Here's the before and after video

I found it quite interesting, particularly since I've never seen myself run. I like the technique and will continue to learn it in my quest to improve my running and make my knees happy with my new found passion.

Jacky shared some links that I'll pass along since they're public.

I would advice you to only start working on technique more intensilly after your marathon, which will be soon ;-). 
On the vid you can read some comments. Most important for you is to pay attention to your lead movement with bodyweight (hips) while letting the torso come along (don't hold shoulders back) and while being tall from the waist. Don't focus on a landing on BOF (ball of foot), but learn to land under the body, by focussing on pulling the ankle "under", towards the hip instead of focussing on (anticipating for) landing. Like not extending the lowerleg in front or raise the toes and foot up before landing. Let it land passively by itself so it'll we drop under the body. This will reduce braking. Don't push-off, but lift the foot. Get rid of running with the legs, try to run ON the legs. Try to gradually work you cadence up to atleast 180spm (add 4 steps per week). It'll reduce muscular efoort and increase energy return from elastic tissues.
I have big thoughts on mental endurance. Will collect them and share, but not tonight. Preparation includes getting enough sleep.

I'm seeing a great time on Sunday.

Friday, 9 April 2010

calm before the storm

I feel calm and prepared. I was feeling nervous a couple days ago. I turned that into focused preparation. Still more to do - like planning meals and calorie consumption until the starting gun.  I received a nice if impersonal email from the Race Organizers:
Finally! Another few days and then it's time. The Netherlands' biggest one day event for which you have trained will start. You are one of the lucky people who have managed to secure a bib number. Hundreds of thousands of spectators will be standing along the course cheering you on. You will be finishing on the Coolsingel with 20,000 others. What a fantastic experience that will be!

We are busy with the preparations for the big day and with this email we would like to bring you up to date with all the developments.

How about a photo of first place?

Coming first across the finish line...
Have you always dreamed of coming first across the finish line on the Coolsingel? That is now possible and you can capture the moment too. At the Marathon SportExpo 2010 there is a life size picture wall of the world famous finish and an ecstatic crowd. Two adidas employees will hold the ribbon. So, make sure you take your camera with you to the Marathon SportExpo and immortalise yourself on the Coolsingel!

This offer made me laugh. Pretend to be first. I prefer reality, thanks.  On the other hand, this party could be for  me: 

16.30 hrs  Celebratory welcome for the last runner - Coolsingel

My boss told me last night he ran 8 m's in 6 years - a long time ago. He offered a strategy and corrected my thinking. I said, It's a long race.  He told me not to think like that - explaining I'm about to do something that very few people on the planet ever do in their lifetimes - and to give it my all - to cross the finish line with nothing left. He said, you can run faster than you think you can.  

He's right.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Plan

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian
Collection Tank for thoughts, ideas and strategies.

Race package pick-up: Friday or Saturday. Buy Sunday's train train ticket. Recharge tram card.

Friday: print paper pace band to back-up the Garmin.
Friday night: go to bed early. (swim training)

Saturday: lay out clothes; prepare recovery shake. Charge watch. Check race program. Assemble gel packs and race belt. Train card, ID, medical card. House key. IPod. 
Race Day visualisation.

Saturday night: go to bed early.

Drink water when I get up. Eat.
Assemble gel in race belt bottles.
Leave home by 8:27 a.m.; Board Tram; Board Train; (en route: race day  visualisation) arrive Rotterdam Central Station

Back-up plan: I can take the next train. I've built in extra time. There are trains leaving to Rotterdam every 10 minutes or so. 

On arriving in Rotterdam, CS: use the WC at the train station. It's clean and uncrowded. Bring 50 cents.
Morning snack: ****
After 10:00: only water. But not too much.
Start time: 11:00. Line up as close to the front as possible, on the side to allow faster runners to pass me without difficulty.
5:30: 7:48
5:20 finish (7:35)
5 - 0:37:55
10 - 1:15:50
15 - 1:53:45
20 - 2:31:40
HM - 2:40:00
25 - 3:09:35
30 - 3:47:30
35 - 4:25:26
40 - 5:03:21
42 - 5:20:00
(HM muscle memory: Amsterdam pace 7:28; CPC 7:19)
Race Strategy: conserve energy 
1st 10K: run 15 sec/walk 30 sec--time yourself per KM--it is very possible that you will hit the pace you need.  If you are getting behind, go to 30/30.   Coach says wait until past 35km to stretch out the run/walk intervals.
Nutrition:  gel 10 min before the start. Then every 40 - 45 minutes.  Will need 8 doses.
Water: bring my own. Drink at aid stations (every 45 minutes). Each cup contains 200 ml. 

After: recovery shake packed in my gear bag with warm clothes.  Easy train ride home.  Feel proud of myself.
Monday: walk
Tuesday walk & run
Wednesday walk & run

Monday, 5 April 2010

the last long run before 42.2

Today was my last assigned long run before the marathon. My hammies said, Not today please. Ab's seconded the request. The Romanian dead-lifts yesterday left my hammies a little sore. I thought it through - wait until Monday would mean running Wed & Fri & Sun. Running tired today would mean running Tues & Thurs & then Sun. Simple choice once I looked at it like that. I'm still going to swim Tuesday night. I'll wait & see about Friday night swim.

So the assignment was to try out different walk/run ratios over a longer distance. I screwed up programming my watch and it didn't give me the 1 km splits I was expecting. The idea behind the walk/run intervals is to make running the marathon distance easier by reducing the fatigue on my running muscles.

Here's the report.

I'm excited about next week.  Here's my report to my coach. 

1. Distance assigned: 12k. Ran 12.5k. 1:44. Cold, cloudy. (44 degrees F)

2. Pace Assigned: try to get to 7:50 using various walk/run ratios. Ran: 8:15 min/km average for 12k. Unfortunately I had a learning experience with my watch. The way I set up the workout did not give me the km splits I was expecting. If I hadn't such a nice run, it would have ticked me off. Without the splits, my subjective experience was that I think the 30/30 is fastest, if I had to pick one. I don't think I run fast enough to make up for the longer walk portions and keep the target pace.

3. Walk breaks assigned: 20/40; 30/30; 15/45 . Ran 2 min warm up. ran 20/40 for the first 4 km; 30/30 for second 4 km; 15/45 for 2 km; was getting cold so switched to 30/30 for remainder of the run.

What I can say about these: 1) I don't like 15/45. I got cold during the walk breaks. I will keep that ratio in my tool box for when I feel like I am out of gas. 2) I like the gym boss timer. I don't like trying to re-program it while running. I will use it during the race. I figured out I can use it to alter my ratios by setting the beeper for 10 seconds. So If I want to run 40 or walk 40 out of a minute, I can just run or walk until the beeper stops. 3) In general, I'm not terribly fond of such frequent walk breaks. They feel too frequent and disrupt my settling into a pace.

4. Speed work: none

5. Aches & Pains: I was quite tired when I went out for this run. (late afternoon, post Easter party, etc.) I almost postponed it until Monday, but wanted to get it done so I could run T/Th and be rested for Sunday (rather than MWF). Yesterday I did some leg exercises that surprised me with some soreness in my hamstrings today. No big deal, but I felt tired at the start and would have taken a rest day except for tapering this week & next Sunday.

6. questions: Plan for next week? Thanks for everything!

7. next week: 42.2 Rotterdam Marathon!

Jeff was quick with a reply.
Thanks for the feedback.  I appreciate your frustration.
 Here are my suggestions on pacing:
 1. You must conserve resources during the first 15K.  If you don't, the last 10K will be really tough.
2. Try this:  Set your watch for 15 second intervals.
 1st 10K: run 15 sec/walk 30 sec--time yourself per KM--it is very possible that you will hit the pace you need.
 If you are getting behind, go to 30/30.
 Line up as far to the front as you can.  Run on one side of the road or the other to let the faster runners go by you.  This placement may keep you ahead of the sweeper.
You can do it.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Core Workout

Prehab 5 min

Hip Abduction- Quadruped8
Y, T, W, L- Physioball8
Quadruped Posterior Rocking8
Hip Adduction- Sidelying8
Movement Prep 10 minReps
Hip Crossover- Feet Down6
Glute Bridge10
Rotational Fall Out6
Knee Hug6
Backward Lunge6
Knee Hug Lunge Elbow to Instep6
Leg Cradle6
Dropstep Squat3
Hand Walk6
Walking Quadriceps Stretch- Opposite6
Plyometric 10 minReps
Circuit: repeat the following movements 2 times.
Off Box Stabilization3
Box Hop- Lateral5
Box Hop- Medial5
Rotational Jump- 90 Degree Countermovement Stabilize4
Strength 25 minReps
Circuit: repeat the following movements 3 times.
Romanian Deadlift- Dumbbell 2 Arm/1 Leg12
Crunch- Reverse Physioball15
Circuit: repeat the following movements 2 times.
Lunge- Forward Dumbbell10
Plate Crunch- Physioball15
Repeat the following movement 2 times.
Russian Twist- Bench Holding Physioball10
Regeneration 5 minReps
Foam Roll- Pec30
Foam Roll- Adductor30
Foam Roll- Hamstring30
Quadriceps/Hip Flexor Stretch- Kneeling8
Rope Stretch- Straight Leg Hamstring8

I gave this workout a try as part of a 10-day freebie. As promised, it took an hour, start to finish.  I modified some of the movements: my physio ball hasn't arrived yet.  I did the ply on my BOSU rather than a box. And then quit early on the medial jump out of concern I could easily twist my ankle eight days before the marathon. (Doink!).  I skipped the rope stretch in favor of some yoga postures. I liked them all. I can do without the walking quad stretch. Or maybe I was doing it wrong. My knees felt at risk.

Very handy is the ability to download today's/tomorrow's/whole week's video demo (or just a list) to my iPod.  That way looking at the iPod showed me what was next.  Being able to see the  movement made each one easy to learn.  I didn't wobble too much. This workout is the base of a 12-week program for strength conditioning.  I may sample some easier programs since I am tapering for the marathon and I don't think I ought to start a lot of new stuff the week before the race. 

I like the nutrition component of the website too. Based on your goals it gives you a meal plan within your calorie range. Six meals. Right ratios, sports performance recharges included. Nice. And a shopping list, plus the ability to swap out stuff I don't eat much of (such as grains).