Sunday, November 29, 2009

Days 110-112 : Is It Already Over?

Wow, where did the last 4 days go? All of a sudden I look up and it's time to go back to work. Talk about a bummer! I guess holiday weekends are always that way. You get time off from work, but you are traveling and doing things that you never really get a chance to soak in the extra days away from the office. Back to the grind. Can you believe it's December in 2 days?!

Well, good news for all of you actually following along leading up to the marathon! I managed to get in 12 miles today and am feeling ok about it still. I woke up this morning about 8 AM and did some pre-run preparation at the apartment. I had the usual whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and jelly and did a few stretches in the living room. The weather took a turn towards late fall/early winter finally so I actually had to pull out the long sleeves today. It was also a bit rainy so I put on my Brooks jacket and gloves and hit the road.

I opted for running in the neighborhood this morning because I really didn't feel like running at the lake because I knew it would be colder there. I also was kind of in a time crunch so I figured being close to home would eliminate some of the time needed to get in my run. Another perk was the ability to leave water and Gatorade at the corner of my block so I could hydrate without having to carry fluids with me.

The run started off about the same as the last 3 weeks or so. The first half mile was pretty routine and everything felt good, but soon after the heel started the usual burn/ache. It never really eased up the entire run but I made myself get through 12 miles to makes sure I could at least get to that point. I also wanted to see how I felt after I ran for that length. I know I haven't ran anything over 3 or 4 miles the past week or two, but I felt pretty fresh at the end of my run and it left me encouraged and optimistic. Obviously the run wasn't ideal, but it was a good indication that the marathon dream is still intact.

The pain is stubborn though. I still feel it now and it is 8 hours after the run. I have iced and stretched a few times already today and will keep up that regimen for the next 2 weeks. Again, the pain never really got to the point where I felt I needed to stop, but it never really was comfortable either. I am definitely resigned to the fact that I will be running with some level of discomfort in my first marathon. My hope is that it won't get worse in the later stages of the race, but it is still a big unknown so I will just have to keep my fingers crossed.

Only 2 more weeks until the marathon. I am a weather nerd so this next section is basically for my own viewing pleasure, but it will give you an idea of what the weather will be like on race day. I am going to start posting an update on the forecast for Sunday, Dec 13th with each of my posts leading up to race day. My source will be for now. They have a 15 day extended forecast so here is what they show for Dallas on race day:

Saturday, Dec 12
High: 48 °F RealFeel®: 47 °F
Cloudy with a shower in the afternoon
Saturday Night, Dec 12
Low: 41 °F RealFeel®: 35 °F
Mostly cloudy

Sunday, Dec 13
High: 61 °F RealFeel®: 56 °F
Cloudy and warmer

So far it looks pretty decent for a marathon. My only hope is that the wind is light. Stay tuned for more weather updates!

Sunday, November 29th : 12.05 miles in 1:53:43 (9:26 pace)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 109 : Un-Official Turkey Trot

In honor of all of the Turkey Trots around the country today, I decided I should at least go for a run to join the thousands of other avid runners hitting the streets today. I opted out of the official Turkey Trot here in OKC because I tend to run too hard when I go to races. A nice 4-mile run in the neighborhood was just right.

All in all, the ankle/Achilles wasn't too bad. It still definitely isn't 100% but the run was somewhat encouraging. If it holds up the same over the next 2 weeks, it will make marathon day even more enjoyable. I will continue to follow the extended taper plan for the next 2 weeks and try to ice and stretch as much as possible. All signs are pointing towards a go though. We are moving in the right direction. I will attempt a longer run this weekend and see how it goes. I will go for a 12 mile or 8 mile run depending on how everything holds out. I haven't fully decided what I am doing tomorrow. It is a scheduled rest day, but Saturday is Bedlam in Norman so I won't be able to cross-train then. I think 2 days of rest may not be a bad option anyway. Sunday will be my run day this weekend and hopefully it goes well.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone had a great time with family and/or friends. Time for some Texas/Texas A&M football now. We need the Longhorns to win to keep our BCS dreams alive. I will be fired up in Norman on Saturday. ORANGE POWER! BEAT OU!

Thursday, November 26th : 4.01 miles in 34:57 (8:43 pace)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Days 106-108 : Holiday Week

Oh it feels so good to be off work for 4 more days. I could really get used to this 3 day work week thing we have going on here. Wishful thinking!

No real big plans for Thanksgiving. My mom is working so I am going with the Pops down to his folks for Thanksgiving lunch. I don't really plan on staying long so I can get back and watch some football in the comfort of my apartment. The goal for Thanksgiving and beyond is to continue to eat well and taper towards the marathon. I really need to make sure I don't gain any unnecessary weight the last week or two. I am going to have enough strain on the body as it is now.

Yesterday was also my first run since last Wednesday and the disaster I experienced at Lake Hefner. I was really nervous for some reason. I have been stretching and icing like a madman the past week and I think it has helped some. The run was not perfect, but it was doable. I only ran a nice, easy 3 miles just to get back into the swing of things and will now alternate running and cross-training days until the marathon. I really am trying to not push it and just get to the starting line and see where the chips fall.

The pain is not debilitating like I have said before, but it's definitely there. It's more of like a constant dull, burning pain once it starts. I really am leaning towards a case of bursitis in my Achilles region, and not tendonitis. It is definitely aggravated more with pressure on my Achilles region by my shoes. I have been trying to wear Crocs, softer backed shoes, and/or go barefoot when at all possible to help cut down on the inflammation. The time off has definitely made this more of a possibility so that has been helpful. I also am going to schedule a doctor's appointment next week to go get checked and see if the doc can give me any tips or advice to get through the marathon. The goal is to still run the marathon. I think race-day will definitely help the situation and I would be very upset with myself if I didn't at least give it a shot. I would rather try and fail, then not try at all. The only thing that will stop me now is if I further injure myself between now and race day or if the doctor tells me I am stupid for trying. I don't foresee either one of those happening though. I am being as conservative as possible with my running to help promote healing and still maintain fitness.

Off to get some stuff done around the apartment. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24th - 3.0 miles in 29:35 (9:52 pace)

Wednesday, November 25th - 60 minutes of stationary bike in place of running

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Days 102-105 : X-Train and R.I.C.E

The "vacation" has been superb. My spirits are high and I am very well-rested. It was just what the doctor ordered at this point in my training.

After the debacle on Wednesday, I have continued to try and think positively. I am doing what I can to get to the starting line in 3 weeks and that's all that I can control. I started my week of healing with a nice 50 minutes on the stationary bike on Thursday. I slept in until 8 AM and then went to our health center on campus and took my H1N1 vaccination. It was available so I figured I might as well get it. It never hurts to be prepared. After my immunization shot, I went to the Midtown Y and picked a spot among the other happy non-workers on a Thursday morning and turned on my tunes. Nothing too major to write home about other than the fact that I enjoyed the workout and started my day off the right way.

After the workout, I went home and did some stuff around the house for a few hours before the trip to Stillwater for our first Thursday night home game in nearly 14 years. It was definitely different being at a football game on a Thursday, but it was a fun game and the weather was great. Anytime I can wear a hooded sweatshirt and jeans I am happy. That's ideal weather in my book. I don't like hot or warm. I like cool and crisp! My Cowboys managed to keep things interesting all game and we needed a 4th quarter TD and a defensive stop to pull out a hard-fought victory. 9-2 and 6-1 in the conference and one game left! Bedlam baby! Beat OU!!

Friday was another day of rest and relaxation. It was cloudy and cool out so it was a great day to sit on the couch and rest the Achilles. I switched on the DVR and relaxed for hours. I recharged the batteries quite often this week and I can definitely tell it's paying off in my mood and demeanor. I was really becoming quite irritable the past few weeks and I think it was due to a little bit of overtraining and no time off from work. I really couldn't have asked for a better time to be off. Now I just need to continue to nurse the wounds and keep a positive outlook. I think with mental toughness and smart care I can make this happen.

Saturday was supposed to be my last long run of my training period. I had planned on 20 miles at Lake Hefner, but due to being held up by my Achilles, I switched the workout to some indoor cross-training to minimize impact and still maintain the cardiovascular benefits. I opted for 65 minutes on the stationary bike followed by 65 minutes on the elliptical. I contemplated trying to get in another 65 minutes on another machine, but wanted to make sure I was being smart. Plus, I was bored out of my mind. There really is nothing interesting about standing/sitting in one spot for over 2 hours. It was ridiculous. I was happy with the overall effort and hope it will help me out in the long-run. I realize the benefits of the 20 miler would have been huge both physically and mentally, but I think I would have further jeopardized my ability to do the marathon if I tried to push through 20 miles this weekend.

The plan now is to rest today and tomorrow. I haven't decided whether I will run on Tuesday yet. Part of me wants to, but part of me thinks I should wait another day. The 1st taper week calls for 5 miles, 8 miles, 4 miles, and 12 miles. I may just do 2 weeks of the 2nd taper week instead. That would give me runs of 4, 6, 3, and 8 for the next two weeks leading up to the marathon. I am still undecided though. The point now is to maintain and persevere. Healthy feet are happy feet :-)

If you have any suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I am more than willing to take any advice given. I just want to give this a go if it's possible. Only 3 more weeks. It's getting really, really close.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 101 : Decisions, Decisions

Well, it's happening. I think I may have finally hit my breaking point in the training schedule. Yesterday, the easy 5 miles was definitely ok. No real discomfort, just the general feeling that something wasn't 100%. Today, not so much.

The day started off so well. It was the beginning of my 4 1/2 day weekend and work went by quickly this morning. I went in to wrap up some last minute business and make sure my stuff was covered for Thursday and Friday. The weather was awesome and the wind was non-existent. It seemed like the perfect day for a nice 10-miler around Lake Hefner. I went and got a haircut after I left the office and then headed home to change into my running clothes. Everything seemed to be aligned for a great Wednesday run. I was excited and optimistic. Man, how things change.

The run started off well enough. I really was in no hurry to get anywhere so I stretched a bit before the run and started at a nice comfortable 9:30 pace. A mile in, no real problems. Everything felt like it was going well and I was optimistic. A half a mile later, I felt it starting. That tender, nagging pain that started last weekend when I tried to do my long run. Just a little hint that something wasn't right, but nothing too harsh that made me think I needed to stop. I keep moving to only feel things get worse. The nagging pain progressively intensified and at mile 2 I called it quits. Dejected, saddened, frustrated, embarrassed, heart-broken. Thoughts of failed marathon plans started rushing through my head. My mind started racing in every direction possible. "If I can't even run 3 miles now, what's going to happen to me on race day?" "Can I even think about running a marathon if I miss my last 2 long runs before my taper?" "Am I stupid for even thinking this is still a possibility?" You can imagine my disappointment if you have been following this blog for very long. Miserable, that's how I felt at that exact moment. "What's next?"

The walk back to the car was a blessing in disguise. It helped me gather my thoughts and remove some of the negativity swirling around in my head. I took it as an opportunity to assess the situation and come up with a plan of action. I am not giving up on the marathon. No way, no how. Plus, to tell the truth, if this was race day, I would have kept running. The pain is not debilitating. It's just there. A constant reminder that something isn't normal. Everything I have read up to this point in my training stresses the idea that it's better to get to the starting line healthy, a little under trained, than to never make it all. That's my goal over the next 3 1/2 weeks. No, I won't be able to get in my 20 mile run. No, I won't be able to get in every run on my schedule. The things I can control, I will. I will still do cross-training in place of the runs on my schedule. For all of you wondering, that means I will be sitting my happy butt on a stationary bike for 3 hours on Saturday trying to teach my body how to burn fat first, glycogen second, and everything in between last. I will not give up. I have come too far to hang my head now. Sure, I will have doubts over the next 3 weeks. Sure, I will be even more nervous when I stand at the start line on Dec 13th. It's all part of the journey, right? Plus, the taper is to let your body rest and recover anyway. The endurance building has already taken place. My job now is to not blow it.

So, that brings me to another dilemma. Do I still ask people to come to Dallas to watch? Do I stay quiet for the last 3 weeks and minimize the attention? I know my Mom is coming and she will be proud of me regardless of when I cross the finish line. My own personal goals are probably shot at this point, but there is always next time. I am at least being realistic now and am willing to admit that finishing is the main goal. My time goal has been thrown out the window. I am not sure why I care what people think anyway. This marathon is for me. Not for my mom, not for my brother, not for my friends. It's for me.

Marathon training is very selfish. It eats up your time., alters your social calendar, tears up your body, and maybe even costs you a few cool points with your friends. If I was doing it for someone else, I probably would have never started. I am doing this for my own good. It's a reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to. It's a reminder that life is fragile and to embrace the good health we are given. It's a reminder that life itself is a marathon. I have learned to not get too excited about the day-to-day mishaps. Focus on the goal. Focus on what makes you happy. Focus on making yourself a better person. Through this training, I have realized how lucky I am to be able to pursue this dream. It's not for everyone, but it is for me.

So, over the next few weeks, I plan on maintaining and persevering. I considered a doctor visit, but I know exactly what he would tell me. If it gets worse, I will consult a physician, but for now I will prescribe my own medicine. Tomorrow is a brand new day. To quote one of my favorite running blogs : "There will be a day when you can no longer do this. Today is not that day" Frayed Laces

Please send positive vibes my way. It will be a struggle, but I know I can do it. 24 days and counting.

Wednesday, November 18th - 3.90 miles in 45:35 (11:41 pace) - failed attempt at 10 miles

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Days 98-100 : Vacation Week

Yes, it's finally here! I only have a half day of work left this week and then I get to take 2 1/2 days off work. Woo hoo! I can't wait to have the time away from the office. I don't have any grand plans. OSU plays a Thursday night game this week so I will make the trek to Stillwater for our final home game of the year. I believe we are staying the night in Stillwater, but I plan on behaving. It's a big week of running on the schedule, health permitting, so I need to stay focused.

Today was my first attempt at a run since Saturday's failed long run. I decided to go inside and use the treadmill for this one so I could stop whenever I wanted and control my pace. I set my pace at 9:50 min/miles and just coasted in a nice, slow 5 miles to get back in the swing of things. The discomfort was pretty minor throughout the run. I could definitely tell I wasn't 100%, but it wasn't bad. I am going to give it a go again tomorrow and reassess. I am just taking it day-to-day at this point to see if I can get in a full week of running. I don't plan on pushing the envelope too much.

Tuesday, November 17th : 5.0 miles in 49:10 (9:50 pace)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Days 96-97 : Long Run Fail

Yep, it happened. Finally. My first real major disappointment of the marathon training season. I tried to get out and do my 14 mile scheduled long run this morning and failed misreably. About 2 miles in, my left Achilles sent me a very loud message "STOP!". It shot a sharp pain through my body and I immediately put on the brakes. I was already concerned that it would be a problem because last night when I was walking around the house it locked up on me and was pretty painful. It was almost like someone had twisted it in a knot. It was alarming because I really didn't do anything to it like step wrong or climb a stair or anything. I was just walking around picking up around the house and BAM! I thought I would give today a shot and see how it felt. I went in knowing this run could be very disappointing, but I knew I had to stop if it was painful. I am too close to do anything stupid and I am confident if I rest for a few days that I will be good to go. I will assess the situation over the next few days and make a determination on what I will do this upcoming week. It is my peak training week, so if all goes well I will be able to run all 40 miles at a slower pace. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I am very bummed out at the moment.

Time to shower and head to Stillwater. Hopefully OSU can cheer me up today. Go Pokes! Beat Tech!

Saturday, November 14th : Long Run cut short....2.0 miles before I had to stop. :-(

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 95 : Pop-Tarts and Peanut Butter

Wow! Why haven't I thought of this before now?!? All my life I have loved peanut butter and everything about it. I eat it daily and I have continually made it a point to make it even better, if that is possible. Tonight, I may have outdone myself. Chocolate pop-tarts topped with peanut butter! Yes, you read that right. It was dynamite. Hot, toasted chocolate layered with melted peanut butter followed by a nice big glass of milk. AMAZING! It's a perfect combination of carbs, protein, and indulgence all wrapped up in one. This "meal" will be making a repeat on Bryan's list of approved marathon training meals. I am still smiling :-)

I had my last midweek run today and all went pretty well. I actually ran a little faster than I intended, but I was kind of in my own little world, not paying attention to the Garmin. The left Achilles showed some tenderness late in the run, but nothing to write home about really. I did the icing and stretching regimen when I got back to the casa and all is well. This is also my last night with the dogs :-( I will definitely miss the little guys, but it will be nice to have the bed to myself once again. I am sure I will have more opportunities to keep the kids again.

Another OSU weekend coming up. I am planning on laying low tomorrow night and catching up on some DVR. I missed pretty much every show I watch this week since I didn't have access to my own DVR. I will catch up tomorrow and then go for my long run on Saturday morning. I plan on doing a 14-miler at Hefner so if anyone is out there, wave and say hi. Then it will be off to Stillwater for gameday. OSU versus Texas Tech so it should be a shootout. Watch it on ABC if you have it in your area. Go Pokes!

Thursday, November 12th : 5.04 miles in 44:46 (8:53 pace)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 94 : Back in the Saddle

I tested out the ankle/Achilles tonight and everything held up pretty well and I even got in a few "faster" miles to help keep the tempo Wednesday theme going. It was a little tender at a few points, but the elastic brace and the extra day of non-running helped. Now I will go with another 5 miler tomorrow to round out the midweek runs....every day brings me one day closer. I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. I hope so much that it goes well and I have a blast. I really want this to be something I can make a regular part of my life. I feel so much healthier and motivated since I started running. Sure, I have had my share of aches and pains, but its all about the growing process. I know as I get my body used to running more frequently, it will continue to adapt and thrive. Only four and a half weeks. Wow.

I am currently watching the CMAs and really enjoying the country music industry. Carrie and Brad are great hosts and I can't wait for the Sugarland performance coming up. Miranda performed her new single earlier and it made me even more excited to go see her in January. Brad Paisley will also be a great concert. It's been since 2001 at the Tumbleweed in Stillwater since I saw Brad. Let's just say he has made a name for himself. I can't wait to see him again.

My days of dog sitting are drawing to a close. Only 2 more days and then it's back to my old apartment. The comforts of this house will be greatly missed. It has definitely motivated me to get the ball rolling on a house purchase next year. I would love the extra space and the ability to make it my own. Plus, I need a place to store that fancy new bike I am going to buy soon. Stay tuned for more details there!

Wednesday, November 11th : 9.01 miles in 1:23:10 (9:14 pace)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Days 92-93 : Minor Setback (Hopefully)

Well, if you remember that little ankle/Achilles problem I told you about in that last blog, then you are already up to par on the last two days. That pain while I was running has lingered into two more days of discomfort. It's not awful, don't get me wrong. It's just there. It's a constant reminder that all is not well, but all is not broken. It's a different pain too. It's not really painful when i stretch it or pinch it, but it hurts after I walk around for a bit. To me, this means it's not Achille's tendonitis. It has to be something else. Like a strain or something that only pops up after it gets used for a while. It's fairly minor at this point, so the plan is to keep it that way.

Dang short beds! I can pinpoint this problem all the way back to one of my trips to Stillwater when I slept in a bed that was too short for me. The sheets were tucked in and my ankle got twisted during the course of the night and was left in that position for far too long. It was noticeably uncomfortable the following day and I just haven't been able to shake it. Stupid beds.

In lieu of recent events, I opted for cross-training today in place of my scheduled 5 mile run. The recumbent bike and I became very close friends for an hour and I got to listen to quite a few good tunes on the iPod. As I get closer to the actual marathon date, my focus is shifting to getting there healthy and not trying to work in more runs when my body isn't willing. I will plan on getting in all of my long runs on the weekends and do as many of the midweek runs as possible as I wind my way down the road to the marathon. It may be a struggle on race day, but I am confident I am stubborn enough to make it to the finish line.

Tomorrow I have a 9 mile run on the schedule and I will give it a go. I plan on going to Lake Hefner and running 1 mile out-and-backs from the car until I get to 9 total. I figure this is a safe way for me to go run outside and have the option to pull the plug if it isn't go well. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Days 88-91 : Weekend at Home

Ah, how good it feels to be at home for a weekend. This was a very nice, restful weekend spent in OKC and I even managed to spend some quality hours alone which was very welcome.

Friday night was my friend's 50th birthday party/wedding reception at the Old Trinity chapel in the Paseo district. They decided to do this as a joint event since a lot of our core group of friends hadn't been together in quite sometime and it was a way for us to celebrate their marriage together since none of us were able to make the trip to Massachusetts with them. It was such a fun evening and a joy to see two women I deeply respect share their commitment with everyone. Sticking to my word, I also managed to be disciplined. I only had 2 beers, some fruit, and cake.

Saturday was the beginning of my house-sitting/dog-sitting adventure. I had two friends leave for Cancun for a week and they left me in charge of the kiddos back home. It will be a great trial run for me to decide if I want to get a dog of my own. Plus, these two dogs are very well behaved and like to be lazy. My kind of dogs! The only minor hiccup so far is the sleeping arrangements. It's going to take a few days to get used to them in the bed, but I think I will manage. The first night was a little rough because it took them an hour or so to fall asleep, but I think it will get easier as the week goes on since they will be used to me by the end of the week. I could also get really used to this living in a house thing. It's amazing how great it is to have every room a consistent temperature and a kitchen big enough to move around in. To top it off, the kitchen has a dishwasher! I think I may have to cook several meals this week and take advantage of all the extra space!

Another great football weekend for my Cowboys! We actually still look pretty solid with a convincing win on the road versus Iowa State. Our defense is surprisingly strong too. I really think we have a legit shot at the Cotton Bowl this year. If we take care of business at home and find a way to sneak one out on the road in Norman, we should be heading to Dallas for New Year's. That is definitely easier said then done though.

Today was another milestone in my short running career. I topped both of my weekly and individual mileage records with my 18 miler this morning. I started off the morning very bright and early with a 5 AM alarm clock. The boys and I were definitely not too thrilled to be hearing Dierks Bentley at that hour in the morning on a Sunday Regardless, I pulled myself out of bed and started the pre-run routine. I had to substitute mini bagels, because I forgot to bring my waffles with me when I "moved" in at my friend's house. They seemed to suffice though and I had the usual PB&J topping. I skipped the banana this go-around because the one I had just wasn't hitting the spot so I opted for 2 mini-bagels instead.

The weather this morning was pretty decent actually. Temps started in the upper 50s and climbed to the mid-60s before I was done. The wind was annoying, but not terrible. It was probably blowing 10-20 mph in the beginning and ended up around 20-30 mph before I was finished. The course did provide some windblock since I was running more of an E-W route through residential areas. The houses provided shelter and it didn't feel like you were constantly fighting against it to make your next stride.

I started the run with the OKC LandRunners group. We started in the Nichols Hills Plaza parking lot and followed the upper half of the OKC Memorial marathon course from there. They were only scheduled to do a 12-mile run so I hung with the pack for the whole run and made small talk with a group doing the same pace as I wanted for this run. The good thing about this group that lacked in the past when running with the LandRunners, were some other 1st-timers and people who were conscientious of the pace being set. They all seemed concerned about overtraining which has been one of the primary reasons I haven't ran with the group as much. In previous runs, I felt like I got caught up in someone else's pace and never really found a way to get myself out of it. I know it's my own fault, but at least I know my weaknesses. I get competitive and try to maintain pace. It's in my blood :-)

The run was quite leisurely and was just what I needed to get me through this next stage of training. I knew the last 6 miles by myself would present a struggle, but the smart running beforehand, definitely made it more bearable. I ended up stopping after the 12 miles with the group to have some pretzels and water before grabbing my own water bottles and heading back out. I kept my Garmin running during the downtime to properly account for the time out on my feet, but my pace was quicker than my Garmin showed. All in all, my avg pace without the stoppage was about 9:30 again. It seems to be a good training run pace for me.

My only negative out of this run was my left ankle/Achilles. I started having problems about mile 7 or so and it was just a nagging pain for the rest of the run. I tried several different ties on my shoelaces and tested out tight vs loose and nothing really seemed to help. I am still wearing the elastic ankle support on my long runs on my left ankle, but even that didn't seem to help much. I did manage to finish, but I can still feel the tenderness when I take stairs or walk on an incline. I am going to ice quite a bit and do a lot of stretches on my calf muscles to hopefully help alleviate some of the pain. I am sure it's only minor since it wasn't completely debilitating, but I need to be safe over the next week. I may throw in a cross-training day this week since it's a stepback week anyway. I want to be fully rested and ready for the peak week coming up. Hard to believe, but it's only 5 weeks away.

Thursday, November 5th : 5.o miles in 48:23 (9:41 pace)

Sunday, November 8th : 18.0 miles in 2:58:11 (9:54 pace)

New weekly mileage record : 36 miles

New individual run record : 18 miles

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 87 : Am I in Oklahoma?

Wow, great weather again today. It's been downright beautiful here the past 3 days. Low 70s for temps and absolutely no wind. Yesterday I bypassed the great weather for a day at the gym, but today was a completely different story. I busted out of the office about 4:15 and off I went to Lake Hefner for my midweek long run. I tried to get out early enough to time the sunset perfectly with the end of my run. It worked to perfection! This run was just what I needed. I really have had a pretty good attitude about my running lately. However, it's always nice to get in one of those runs that are just pure pleasure from the moment you start until the last step you take. Today was just that day.

My run today was a faster-paced run which is what I have been doing for the past few weeks. It breaks up the mundane pace of the other runs and keeps me working hard and improving along the way. I like the Wednesday runs too. They seem to be a needed shot of adrenaline to get me through the week. I typically do these runs outside too, so it's nice to get some fresh air and let the worries float away with the Oklahoma breeze.

For this run, I used it as a pace run with a little tempo worked in during the middle of the run. I paced myself around 9:00 to 9:15 miles for the majority of the run and then tossed in a mile or two of 7:45 to 8:00 minute miles around miles 5.5 to 7.5. My overall run averaged out to be around 9:00 flat which was a pretty decent pace for a midweek workout. I am pleased with my current fitness level which is good considering I am only about 5 weeks out from the marathon. Physically I am holding up ok. I have the usual aches and pains, but nothing too severe at the moment. I always have the sports doctors phone number handy though since I am so close now. He told me he would help through the pain if I get close enough and get injured. Hopefully I don't have to make that call, but at least it's an option.

I have another easy 5 miles tomorrow and then a couple of rest days to round out the week. I have pushed my long run back to Sunday this week to coincide with the LandRunners group. They are running 12 miles starting at my work and following the upper half of the OKC marathon. It should be fun to join up with the group again and I can just tack on another 6 miles at the end and finish out my required 18 miles. The key to running with the group for me is to not get caught up and run too fast. Off of the computer for now.

Trying my luck at getting Taylor Swift tickets tomorrow. Apparently it's the hardest ticket in the world to get. Hope it works out!

Wednesday, November 4th : 9.04 miles in 1:21:23 (9:00 pace)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Days 85-86 : Vacation Needed

I am in desperate need of a vacation. I really don't even have to go anywhere. I just want to take some time off from work. The good thing is that I am taking off 2 1/2 days in a few weeks. That will help clear my mind and get me away from work. After that, the holidays start so it begins to become pretty routine to only work a few days here and there as we gear up for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. Hopefully my Pokes reward me with a good bowl trip, because that is likely the only actual vacation I will get any time soon.

Currently I am watching the OKC Thunder game versus the Lakers. They are actually hanging in there and giving it a go. This team is much improved and will be very fun to watch over the years. I can't believe its already basketball season. November will be gone before we know it.

I did an easy workout today at the gym. I focused on stretching and a comfortable run to start the week. Tomorrow I will take my running gear with me to work and try to head out of the office early to get my run in before it gets dark. I have to get in a nice 9-miler tomorrow so it should be a good test of my motivation as I approach another mileage record this week. Hopefully all goes well and I can log all 36 miles with a nice, tough 18-mile run this weekend. The weather looks downright stupid this weekend. It's going to be in the mid-70s with a steady 30 mph wind. Yuck. I hate wind. Maybe if I go early enough the wind will be a little lighter.

Have a good Wednesday. Let's go Thunder! Down by 2 in OT. Still putting up a pretty good fight.

Tuesday, November 3rd : 4.0 miles in 38:40 (9:40 pace)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Days 80-84 : Halloween Disaster

What a crappy way to end a Halloween night?!? OSU got absolutely manhandled by Texas in front of a sellout crowd at Boone Pickens Stadium. It was such a waste of a great crowd and perfect weather. I wish things would have turned out differently, but now it's back to playing for a good bowl game and see where the chips fall.

Halloween was rather hit and miss this year. We had our annual Halloween party at work on Friday and that was really the only thing I did even semi-related to the holiday. I didn't dress up in Stillwater, although quite a few people were dressed up at the bars on Friday night. I was a little surprised more people didn't dress up for the game, but I guess it was a good excuse not to which was what I used this year. I have never been a huge fan of Halloween. If it wasn't for the work party, I would probably never dress up.

I did get another full week of running in which was nice. It's two weeks straight that I haven't had to switch out a run for a cross-training workout or skip a day for extra rest. I did feel a little heavy and tired today, but that was due to the lack of discipline I showed this weekend. I have been very bad on football weekends in Stillwater. I am not sure why I decide it's ok to drink too much beer, eat horrible food, and get very little sleep when I go to Stillwater. It does me no good when it comes to training and it obviously doesn't help shed these few extra pounds I am trying to slice off before the marathon. Fortunately, we only have 2 more home games this year and I have made a pact with myself to be focused, disciplined, and motivated to eat, sleep, and drink well the final 6 weeks of training. It should allow me to go into the marathon leaner, well rested, and ready to do well.

Daylight savings time also is going to reek havoc with my training schedule. I need to figure out a way to work in my Wednesday "sorta" long runs the next few weeks. I go up the mileage ladder again this week and now have to squeeze in 9 miles after work. I typically can get out of the office about 4:30 so that leaves me with just about an hour or so before it gets dark. I don't really mind running at night if I can find a place I feel comfortable with on a normal basis. Lake Hefner has its moments. For being the primary city running trail, it really is poorly lit and not very well patrolled by local police. The last few times I have been out there, a car has been broken into recently. A pile of glass awaits to remind everyone to keep valuables at home or securely locked away out of sight. My neighborhood also isn't the safe haven that I would like either. I could probably run in my neighborhood, but I would have to do 1 mile loops in the area that I feel is semi-safe. I am leaning towards Hefner, but will be on the lookout for potential running spots the next few days. Nichols Hills is always a good option and it may win out. Traffic will be an issue there though. The treadmill is definitely not an option.

It's hard to believe it, but it's only 6 weeks to the marathon. Runner's World has selected the White Rock as their race of the month too! It should be exciting hitting the streets with 20k other people and my loved ones meeting me along the way. Ha, I have a feeling I will have to train my onlookers as well. I hope to be able to give each of them some gels, some fluid, and a map of places to meet me along the way so I don't have to carry all of that stuff with me on the course. My mom was also able to shuffle her schedule around and will be making the trip as planned. There was some concern she couldn't get her work moved, but we jumped the hurdle. I also think I am going to send out a Facebook invite about 2 weeks out and let everyone know of my plans. I really don't want to send it out any sooner than that for fear that it may jinx me the next few weeks. Only 3 tough weeks left and then it's the taper. I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 28th : 8.0 miles in 1:12:47 (9:06 pace)

Thursday, October 29th : 5.0 miles in 47:55 (9:35 pace)

Sunday, November 1st : 12.0 miles in 1:51:47 (9:19 pace)

Total October Mileage : 103 miles