Saturday, September 18, 2010

How much sweat can you wring out of your clothes?

Today was sweltering. Our plan was to run 16 and we ran hard and did 12.50. I didn't see any benefit in going further, by 8:30, the sun was beating down and we were soaked with sweat. We should have started earlier to avoid the sun but I am pleased with my workout. I pushed myself harder than I have in months for a long run, even though it was so humid. I am so happy to have the umph to even want to press on, I've been in such a slump this year. I have a good reason for that but I have been getting frustrated with my sluggishness and I am encouraged that some of my drive is coming back.
I listen to a great podcast, Marathon Training Academy. It's a husband/wife team, she is an experienced distance runner and he is training for his first half marathon this fall. The information is very helpful and they have a very good one on yoga stretches and the video is on their blog: You can listen to the podcast directly from there.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Are we there yet?

You would think that the humidity would have dropped by now but such was not the case today. One of the drawbacks of running so early in the morning is fighting the humidity but I'd rather deal with that than the sun. So, our plan was to run 10 miles, some on Riverside and the rest around Jenks. After the first hour, I was dripping wet, I wasn't expecting this and didn't put any Glide on and I was anticipating some wincing in the shower when raw skin was kissed by water. The good news was that we had already done 6 miles and had escaped the burning heat. As we headed through Jenks, I began to tire and tried to focus on my mental training. I looked at my surroundings for distractions and this proved to be helpful. We stopped to drink some water and I was encouraged to discover that we had only 3 more miles to go. At this point my legs were beginning to feel heavy and tight and I realized that pushing so hard on my short runs this week was taking a toll on my long run, yet, I need to get stronger. So, on I plodded, focusing on a technique I've been practicing of raising my knees higher and making sure that my foot plant does not start with a heel strike. I had been commenting to my neighbor, who coaches students for track, that my abductors and adductors were stiff and weak and he told me that was because I shuffled too much, that I needed to pick up my feet more. So, particularly in my short runs, I have been working on picking up my feet more.
When we got to the Jenks bridge, I shouted, "how much further," thinking that we were probably at 9 miles and I was right (my Garmin is not working). That last mile seemed to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r, when we went under Riverside, by Starbucks, I thought, puh-leez, only a little bit more and after a short loop around the parking lot, we were done. The best part about this run was that we were done by 7:30, can you believe that? It's been ages since I got home before 9:00 after a Saturday run. But, now that the temperatures should be dropping, we will probably be starting later and our runs will be getting longer since we're getting closer to our marathons.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Golden Days of Running

I was excited about running a new route on Saturday. We decided to run with Runners World and check out the scenery of a midtown run. I was excited until I heard my friends say we were going for 18. Gulp, I really didn't want to go any further than 16 and the 2 others I was running with were the faster ones in my group so I knew I had to try and stay up with them so I didn't get lost. This was going to be a good mental trial. We had received an email earlier in the week about the mental aspects of a long run, particularly a marathon. We were given several tips about how to overcome the mental fatigue that you experience as you add miles to your running routine. This email was timely for me. My last 4 marathons have been mentally overwelming. I just run out of motivation after the 18th mile. I still want to finish the marathon but, I begin walking and not caring about my finish time. This dilema has been perplexing me but the email really helped because I saw that a veteran runner had challenges staying focused too but she had also learned how to overcome her mental fatigue. So, I applied what I had read, I thought about what I would do if I got really tired and as I got tired, I began to practice these new strategies. One thing that really helped was to breakdown the route into smaller segments, so instead of thinking that we had four more miles to go, I would focus on only the next mile. I can't believe what a difference that thinking made in how I felt about running. Another thing that really helped me was being inspired by the people I am running with. The girl I was running with was in considerable pain but you would never know it. When we got close to the hill at 21st and Yale, going south, and she kept on going on that hill and I really wanted to stop; it was then that I realized that I didn't really want to stop but I needed someone to supply me with motivation to keep on going. Well, I got motivation when I saw her staying strong through those hills. I thought, if she can run through pain, I can run through my motivation issues. Before I knew it, 18 miles were over and done.

We started at the fairgrounds and then ran over to University of Tulsa and then back to the fairgrounds. We did this twice and when we got to TU the second time, we ran all over the campus, trying to get 3 miles out of that part. The campus looks absolutely beautiful, the landscaping is gorgeous and the buildings, both new and old, looked stunning, especially the new performing arts center. We run the same route this coming Saturday, shorter, I hope, and I'm pleased that we'll have another opportunity to get familiar with this area.

On Monday we ran the Run into the Son 5K. This is a super event, lots of fun things for the family and an emphasis on the FREEdom we have in Christ. The route was hilly and I was happy with my time, considering that I had run 18 miles on Saturday. A shout out to Stacy, she PR'd. What a hard worker she is on our weekday runs and her persistance paid off.