Monday, April 30, 2012

Countdown: Day 7, Solving Problems

What do you do when there are only 7 short days until your marathon and something hurts? The solution is obvious really: tape it baby. Tape it.

I mean duct tape was good enough to get MacGyver through 139 life threatening situations, so it should be good enough to cure some insignificant little pain before a marathon. Obviously. (Anyone else ever watch MacGyver? I loved that show!) Getting back to the cure all tape, I once saw an episode of King of the Hill, where Peggy Hill used duct tape to both tape up her butt and make her feet smaller! Poor Peggy Hill you were beautiful before the duct tape! Also, I've heard that duct tape can remove warts...Interesting. What's the lesson here?  Tape can solve your problem...

Okay, maybe tape can't solve your problem, but I have had good luck using something called KT tape in the past. I've used it during a time when I was having some Achilles tendinitis issues, during times when my IT band was irritated, and now for my arch. Does it cure all my issues? Not really, but it has helped (along with doing the normal the rest, ice, compress, elevate stuff). Will I run the marathon with KT tape? No. I did run with KT tape last year on my knee, which worked out fine, but the risk of the tape coming loose in my shoe and causing blisters is too great with a taped arch. Mostly I'm using it to provide some extra support and rest this week leading up the big day.

With 7 days left, it's time to start stalking the weather. Today's prediction for race day? High of 62 with chance of showers. Now for those of you who were unfortunate enough to run Boston in like 90 degree heat, don't worry 7 days is still a long time. There's plenty of time for the weather to go awry.  ;)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Murphy's Law and Tapering

The first week of tapering was fine. Sort of. I wound up with 40 miles, but came down with some intestinal virus that kept me in bed and feeling awful by the weekend. This week of tapering has been terrible. I've run about 28 miles, less than I wanted, and I haven't been feeling well. (That whole intestinal virus has been kicking my butt.)

Yesterday, my stomach finally started feeling better! Woo Hoo! I ran 7 miles and felt good. Now though, my right arch is killing me. What's that all about?! I've never had arch pain, and with 8 days till my marathon I have sudden pain? Very annoying...

I read how people have issues with tapering all the time. Runners getting sick and having phantom pains that seem to be brought on by the mysterious taper. It's never happened to me though. Well, until now.

This is my fifth marathon. For three of my marathons I was sick and/or injured before tapering began, so tapering wasn't an issue (and actually I welcomed it). Last fall was the first time I managed to make it to taper healthy, and the tapering itself didn't bother me.

This year I feel like tapering has brought random illness and pain. (Shaking fists in the air.) Darn you taper, why do you curse me?! Nah, I know my illness and pains are just bad luck and not brought on by some mysterious phenomenon known as taper. (Just out of curiosity, which one of you has been practicing your voodoo doll skills on me?)

So here I am, 8 days until the Cox Providence Marathon. I'm planning to punch Murphy's Law right in the face and run a great marathon. That's my story anyway...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yesterday I turned 33

Oh, and like thousands of people ran Boston, the oldest annual marathon, in record high temperatures. But turning 33 is a big deal too. Right? Right!? ;)

Congratulations to all you tough cookies out there! I had some typically super fast friends that didn't break four hours yesterday at Boston, so I'm thinking it was one heck of a day to run. And though, it may not have yielded PR's, I'm sure there are plenty of war stories to share for years to come.

Speaking of marathons, Providence is 19 days away! I'm officially tapering, and not injured! After following Boston yesterday, I am hoping that it's not ridiculously warm at Providence. Though, even if it is going to be warm, it probably still won't be as bad as Boston. Start time is at 8:00, unlike Boston where the start is a lot later (and therefore warmer). In fact, I ran my last 20 miler yesterday, and it wasn't so bad. I left a little after 8:00 when the temperature was just under 70 degrees, and returned just before 11:00 when the temperature was hitting 80 degrees. Warmer than I would like, but workable. I didn't run super fast. I ran as slow as I had to for the run to be easy, which wound up being 8:31 pace. It was also an extremely hilly course. Overall, I'm pleased. I'm actually happy that I had the opportunity to run a long run in some warmer temperatures. My previous three 20 milers were run at temperatures around 40 degrees (and lower), and obviously it's not going to be that cool on race day.

Here I am after 20 miles and having just turned 33!

This training cycle hasn't been perfect, but still may be my best to date. I've run four 20 milers, managed to incorporate speed work, and am injury free! My peak week was only around 50 miles. I would have liked that 50 miles to be 60 miles, but still, adding speed work into my marathon training is (for me) a big deal.

I'm looking forward to tapering and getting excited to run my 5th marathon in 19 days! I also may run a 5K this upcoming weekend. I haven't decided. I know AM is running a 5K in Cambridge, which is tempting because I think we would make a great team for at least the first mile or two, but I'm not sure I'll be able to keep up after running a 20 miler yesterday. (My 5 mile recovery run today was more difficult than expected, though it was 80 degrees again so that probably didn't help.) There's also a more convenient 5K that I could run (if I just want to get in some speed). We'll see...

Just to throw in a random tidbit, one of my birthday gifts from Nick was the first season of Mad Men on Blu Ray. We watched the first two episodes last night, and it was captivating! (Though it did make me want to punch the main character a number of times for his sexist remarks.) I am so glad that it's not the 1950's...I mean in the 1950's women couldn't even compete in marathons! I can't even imagine what that was like. ;)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Connor's Crusaders

The folks over at Cox Rhode Races have been encouraging the runners to use their marathon training as an opportunity to raise money for a good cause. Generally, I'm much more likely to donate to a good cause than try to raise money for one. That's just my way. Recently, however, I discovered that a couple of good friends of mine from my teenage years have a son, Connor, with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Connor is Kaylee's age, and I imagine that he's a lot like Kaylee in many ways. He probably plays with Legos, plays pretend, and enjoys chaos as most pre-schoolers do. But Connor is different too. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is going to make Connor's life harder. I can't do anything about Connor's DMD, but I'd like to help. I'm dedicating my marathon to Connor's cause, and since the folks over at Cox Rhodes Races have been kind enough to give me a number, I will begin by donating the cost of a number ($100) to Connor's Crusaders. Below is a letter written by Jon and Kira, Connor's parents, explaining DMD and the Connor's Crusaders special needs trust fund. You also visit Connor's Cure, which currently has a post quoting a local paper story on Connor and his family. All donations are greatly appreciated!
Join Connor’s Crusaders . . . to help Connor with the battle of his life! Connor has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. DMD is a degenerative muscle wasting disease affecting 1 in 3,500 mainly boys. DMD will put this lively 4 ½ year old in a wheelchair between 10-12. Boys with this disease don’t usually survive into their twenties due to heart and lung issues. These muscles will weaken to the point of failure. There is no cure and it’s 100% fatal.

While Connor’s diagnosis has been difficult, we are focusing on how we can improve the quality of his life. And that means many appointments, travel, treatments and costs. Big ones are the wheelchairs, van and home modifications. Day to day items include supplements, orthotics, and steroids.

We have set up a fund to help defray the costs of his care. Our goal is to keep him walking for as long as possible until a cure is found. This is a Special Needs Trust Fund ONLY for Connor that can only be withdrawn from under very specific circumstances such as medical need.

While donations to the MDA and other Duchenne communities are greatly needed to fund research so that we can find a cure, we are focusing our efforts on improving his quality of life now and into his future. Contributions on a personal level for Connor and his specific needs are immensely needed and appreciated.

We will be holding an annual event however details are yet to be determined. If anyone has any ideas or would like to help, please let us know.

For every minute for me, it’s really four minutes for him. For every meal, it’s four. For every Birthday for me, it’s really four Birthdays for him. Let’s make every second count!

Jon and Kira Mullaly
To donate to Connor's Crusaders through PayPal please click below. You don't need a PayPal account. Donations can be made via credit card. It's safe and secure, goes straight into the Connor's Crusaders fund, and it's for a great cause!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fastest 20 miler EVA!

Well, my fastest 20 miler to date anyway.

Saturday I had 20 miles planned, but to be honest, I wasn't even sure the run would happen. Things have been a bit crazy around here. When I realized the run would in fact happen, I wasn't sure what to expect from myself. Thursday I ran a hard interval workout and I was assuming the old legs would still be recovering.

I began the run as I begin most of my runs now. Easy. I just ran. I didn't look at my garmin. I just ran. Around 4 or 5 miles I checked my pace, 7:50, and that was fine. And the miles kept flying by. Miles 1 -12 were mostly in the 7:40 range.

Then something happened. The effort felt slightly harder, when my garmin beeped at me, I saw a 7:13. Of course, I then thought I might as well see how long I could maintain that pace. (Apparently, my body wanted to run that fast anyway.) As it turns out, I was able to hold onto that pace pretty well. It's worth mentioning that the last 5 miles were quite hilly. Miles 18 and 19, where I slowed a bit, were the hilliest miles.

Spits for miles 13-20:
13 - 7:13
14 - 7:08
15 - 7:08
16 - 7:08
17 - 7:11
18 - 7:23
19- 7:35
20 - 7:07

The end result was 20 miles with an average pace of 7:30. My fastest ever! I also only drank 6 ounces of water and took 1.5 gels during the run. I didn't feel sick for the day and I'm not sore today. In fact, I ran a hilly 7 miler with the running stroller this morning at 8:50 pace (which is actually a good pace). Anyway, I am really shocked by the whole thing...

So what does this mean for the marathon? Beats me. It was a good run, but it was just one good run. My running mileage and workouts right now are more conducive to running a good 5K or even a good half marathon. I am lacking the endurance necessary to ensure a great marathon (for me). So, no solid goals at this point. I am starting to get excited though! Only two more weeks with mileage increases, one more 20 miler, and then it's time to taper! Woo hoo!

In a day or two, I'll have another post for you. The folks over at Cox Rhode Races are encouraging the runners to run for a cause. There are a ton of charities to choose from, but I hate asking people for money. Well, I've had a change of heart. I recently found out that a close friend from my teenage years has a child with duchenne muscular dystrophy. I'll be trying to raise money for their little boy, Connor. More about all that later...

I hope everyone's training is going stellar! I'll be rooting for all you Boston runners!