Saturday, February 2, 2013

Marathon update--5 weeks to go!
Greetings and salutations!

It seems so long ago that I started this journey to my first marathon.  I'm finding it hard to believe that the big day is a mere 5 weeks from today.  FIVE MORE WEEKS! 

Well, today's run of 20 miles was a rough one, so the fact that the marathon is looming so close is making me a bit nervous.  Fortunately, I've got two more weeks of training before I start to taper, so train I will do!

Along the way, I've learned a tremendous deal about running.  I've read books on marathon training, marathon nutrition, and the camaraderie that can be created when running.  These are things that I expected I would learn...I'm not one to jump into something and not educate myself on the subject (I am a teacher by trade, so that shouldn't surprise you).

What I didn't expect to learn are some of the 'other' things that you learn or realize once you venture past mile 13.1.

First, and I can't say this enough, I love my shoes.  LOVE THEM.  I don't think I could possibly be wearing a better shoe for my foot and my running style.  They're light, they're cushy, they fit me like they were made for me, and I can take them out of the box and run 10 miles in them with no problem.  If you're going to run, GET GOOD SHOES!  If your shoes give you blisters, foot pain, foot fatigue, or a variety of other issues, get rid of them!  My current 'ride,' New Balance 890V2s are about to be replaced by the 890V3.  I'm a little nervous because often those little tweaks that manufacturers make can be the difference between a great shoe and a good shoe.  I hope mine stay great.

Second, all runners should own stock in Glide.  I never had any issues with chafing of any sort until I ran on a particularly warm day for 16 miles.  Once that sweat dried and the salt just sat on my skin, I developed some really weird chafing spots in some weird places.  My biggies are the bottom of my triceps when I wear short sleeve shirts and my eyelids!  Yes, my eyelids...I learned through running that I might just be a good candidate for an eyelift sometime in the near future.  The good news is that if I smear a little Glide in those spots, I'm chafe free.  I do some preventative 'Gliding' in some other areas, too, just to be on the safe side.  Be especially mindful of Glide application if your regular running wardrobe changes due to weather (i.e. going from long sleeves to short sleeves).  If that skin hasn't been in play for awhile, slather on the Glide so you don't find yourself screaming in the shower later that day when the hot water hits that chafed spot for the first time.

Third, and this might be a little TMI for you guys, but for my lady friends, we must discuss, "the girls."  My girls aren't very well-endowed, but let me just say this:  Running 20 miles while you're PMSing is NOT fun.  I actually had to stop right around mile 17 (and yes, I was running next to a major 4 line road on an overpass to the interstate) today to readjust my girls because they were just sick and tired of being jostled and strapped down.  Now I'm sure they were feeling a bit sensitive today, as this is the first issue I've had with them complaining, but bear in mind, your body isn't going to feel the same day in and day out.  When you feel something 'off,' don't panic.  Dump the pride, adjust and carry on like no one saw you.

Fourth, I have experienced the power in compression sleeves for my calves.  Talk about a joyous experience!  Seriously, for me, they diminish the amount of calf pain I have after long runs.  Just finish your run, take a shower, slip them on, chillax and watch your calves recover. No more DOMS for my calves.

Fifth, don't let yourself bail.  Now that I've moved into runs that are longer than 14 miles, I can longer just keep doing the circuitous loop near my neighborhood.  The nice thing about it, though, is that I also can't cut a run short.  My current long loop takes me 10 miles away from my house before I'm allowed to turn around and come back.  I seriously almost cried around mile 17 today, but because I was still 3 miles from home, there wasn't anything I could do about it.  Suck up the tears, move the arms, and get running.  I figured if I ran instead of dropping into a brisk walk, I'd get home faster and the run from hell would be over that much faster.  If my loop had gone near my house earlier in my run, I may have been tempted to cut it short.  My running 'strategery' prevented me from doing so and will make me stronger in the long run.

There you have it...I'll check back in soon to let you know how my Feb. 24th half goes and how the big marathon day unfolds!