Monday, May 25, 2009

Mind Games

Oh runners...

The marathon is a mere 6 days away.

And I am depressed. I feel like running has left me. Like it has broken up with me and tossed me aside for another runner with nicer shoes and a better playlist. Why, running? Why must we play such games?

I am in mid taper despair, people! I want to run. I need to run. I am CRAVING running. The weather is beautiful, work is slowly starting to wind down and really, its the perfect time for running. But don't worry...I will hold strong. I will not be wooed by running's attempts to win me back. No. I will be strong. Take that running.

OK, maybe just a bit harsh but I find the taper so incredibly difficult. All sorts of self doubting thoughts are in my head at this moment. Did I train enough? Is my taper too long? Should I just run today and not worry about the rest I'm supposed to be getting? One would think I am used to such thinking, but alas, every time the taper rolls around its the same thing. Running breaks up with me and I am devastated. I sure do wish my brain had an off switch!

So excited for Sunday. It is supposed to be perfect running weather- +16 and sunny! Fingers crossed everyone please! What a lovely day that would be for a run!

And now I must work.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grits, Guns and Greenery

Well runners, I spent the May long weekend in New Orleans.

Wow. I heart New Orleans. Big time. What a truly fabulous place. The food and drinks are FABULOUS, the people are FRIENDLY and the heat and the green were a lovely change from the frosty brownness that is the city of Calgary these days. It was a fabulous trip, albeit a bit of a whirlwind.

And you'll be please to note that I am not going to bore you with yet another blurb on recommitting to health and fitness following long weekend indulgence. What I will say is this: beer, crawfish, white bread, mojitos, wine, deep fried everything, hurricanes (the drink- I wasn't in one, don't worry), large breakfasts including grits, sausage and biscuits and more beer. I think we all get the picture and its NOT pretty. Definitely not the smartest diet in the 2 weeks preceding the marathon! However, you only live once, and DAMN those crawfish were tasty little jaspers!

I will mention that I went on 3 lovely jogs in the land of guns and accents. It was 90 degrees hot...and it was HUMID. LOVE humidity- makes your hair and skin feel oh so lovely-yes? Anyhow, it was tough slugging on the running path, although I did enjoy each and every second of it. Except maybe the last half hour of my 2+ hour run on Friday, completed after a very long night spent in the French Quarter. I will simply congratulate myself on getting out for that one- it was a huge mind over matter battle! I will also note that I felt like a rock star on parts of those runs due to the lovely low altitude! What a difference!

Marathon is is t-10. Ready to get-'er done. I'm starting to feel EXCITED!

Tapering? Feeling full of energy? Starting to feel nervous? Do tell, people!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Long. Done and DONE.

The biggest mileage week capped off with the longest training run is DONE. That's right- its DONE. My knees, ankles, hips and lower back are sending me a silent thank-you this very moment as I type this. I don't know about all of you, but this body is ready for a good period of rest and rebuilding leading up to the big race. Speaking of that big race, we are exactly 21 days out of the Calgary full and half! SO exciting! I hope everyone out there is feeling positive about their training. If you aren't you should be, you are ALL fit and amazing and you should be looking forward to the marathon and the half.

Those of you who know me well know that I always do my long runs on Fridays after work. I picked Friday as I used to do my long runs on Sunday and found they consumed too much of my "me" time... and I do cherish my "me" time! I had to get enough sleep (very tough on the weekends when there is fun to be had), eat properly (tough too when you are having dinners and breakfasts out on occasion) and perhaps not indulge in those few extra glasses of wine or beers (which I almost never can do- Andrea's willpower=lame). The switch to Friday has been brilliant for me. I love getting the long run out of the way with time to enjoy the rest of my weekend. However, this particular weekend I was foiled by the damn Calgary weather.

I've tried telling myself that its not reasonable or rational to be angry at the weather, but on Friday I just was. It wasn't just raining a bit when I wanted to throw on the shoes and head out for my 3+ hour was pouring. And hailing. And sleeting. And snowing at times. Really weather? It's May for the love of God and I am DONE with winter and have been for quite some time! I don't think I ask for a lot; I don't need it to be unbelievably sunny, gorgeous and hot to run, but it sure would have been nice to be able to get out there for my Friday afternoon physical counselling (also know as my long run) in some weather that was just a wee bit nicer. Anyhow- it didn't happen and I did my run this morning. It was quite lovely and sunny and worth the wait, I suppose. And best of all, its DONE. Those long ones really do take a toll on the bod and mine is ready to do the taper and have a break from all this pounding!

So- the purpose of this little should all be giving yourselves a HUGE pat on the back right now. HUGE. A stiff arm slap, in fact. You have done the hardest physical part of the training and you should be very, very proud of yourselves. This training thing is tough! And each of you has muddled your way through it one way or another; its never perfect, but you committed to it and did it. You are 21 days out of completing your first half and that is just a massive achievement. So massive in fact that I'm afraid I might tear up on race day.

ANYHOW- now that you've congratulated yourself, just remember a couple of little tidbits- lots of stretching...a massage...maybe a yoga class or two...and the most important part of all...DON'T stop running...just yet. Although the bulk of your distance work is complete, to stop running totally right now would mean very, very bad things for your endurance and after all of your hard work, we simply cannot have that happening. Consider the following...
1. Take your TOTAL distance down by about 20% this week...yes, your long run should still be pretty long!
2. Keep doing your shorter runs and pushing the pace
3. If you are doing hills, stairs or speed work that should likely stop this week. If you are doing weights one more week is OK and then you are done with that too
4. Hydrate, hydrate, well...sleep lots... and STAY healthy!

Done and DONE!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Almost Taper Time

Well people running the Calgary marathon and half, this is it...the highest mileage week before you get to taper! I have mentioned the taper in previous posts and, in a nutshell, it is backing off on your mileage in order to allow your muscles to recover and rest so they can perform to their peak potential on race day. That peak potential is something every single one of us longs to reach after the countless hours we have spent preparing the legs to carry the bod a very long distance on race day.

I came across this little gem of an article online on the Runner's World Website. If you have never visited the Runner's World website, I highly recommend that you do, it is a wealth of information about all things running. It has anything and everything you could possibly want to know about running at all levels and distances: training, nutrition, shoes and equipment and many other useful topics. Anyhow, the link I am providing here is an excellent resource regarding the taper, if you have time I'd say it deserves a quick read, particularly when it breaks down the last two weeks. You can definitley apply the concepts to the half marathon as well.,7120,s6-238-244-255-5958-0,00.html

Sunny and warm today...just the kind of day I love for tackling hills and stairs! Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the green that is starting to be evident in the trees and grass and as always, ENJOY the running!