ughhh

I haven’t been running. First there were thunder storm, then I had to move my daughter out of her dorm and back home, and THEN I caught this nasty southern Illinois bug that knocked me on my butt.

More than a week of running a fever, a throat raw from coughing, a head so congested I couldn’t really think straight and ultimately a trip to the emergency room. The gave me meds, I took them. I’m fever free and can breathe now. . . the cough is still hanging around.

I missed my week day runs. I missed the Global 6k for Water, I couldn’t even volunteer because it got so bad. Tonight is the JPMC Corporate Challenge and I intend to walk it. Saturday will be my first run back and if I’m being honest, I’m nervous AF.

I’m nervous not just because this is the longest training interruption I’ve ever had, but I’ve been so wiped out that I don’t know how my body is going to handle the stress of breathing and pumping blood and oh yeah, running. I’ll let you know how this all works out.

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here we go!

I pretty much stopped running after last years Chicago marathon; yes, there was the Frank Lloyd Wright race but I really wasn’t into it and to be honest it showed (my photos looked strained, I didn’t have fun, and my time kinda sucked).  Not quite a month ago was the Shamrock Shuffle and I had a great time and surprised myself.

North Avenue Beach
04/21/2018

A few weeks after that base training officially began and last weekend the group met up for their first lakefront run. . . it was cold, rainy and very windy – I did not join them.  I think I went to the gym instead.  If I’m being honest I have to tell you that the weather has seriously hampered by desire to be outside (I’ve done about 60% of my weekly runs), I’ve even accepted that running on the treadmill isn’t so bad; but really I’ve been okay sleeping and doing stability exercises to strengthen my hips so that I do not experience the issues I had towards the end of last year.  Despite the dreary weather I am actually excited about the start of training. This phase is all about getting your body used to running again, so it is more about minutes and less about mileage.  The real training begins in June; hopefully by then my runs/strength and stability training/food and sleep will all be more second nature.  And if I’m REALLY LUCKY my watch/app/phone will all be on the same page.  (I am currently very irritated with NRC+/Apple Watch but just cannot bring myself to buy another running watch but that is a post for another day)

I feel like I know what I need to be doing, I know what my weaknesses are: physically and mentally and I’m looking forward to a great training season and a great race.  This is me afterwards, the overcast skies allowed me to wear a headband instead of something with a visor and I wore purple because it has been two years since Prince transitioned to a star in the sky.

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my current running watch is NOT cutting it

This may end up being more of a rant . . . for Christmas I got the Garmin Forerunner 235 HR; but the heart rate monitor did not work.  I wore it for a few days and while I enjoyed the other “smart” features I knew of a product that could do the same but better.  So I changed to a series 2 Apple Watch using the NRC+ app to track my runs.

Initially everything was great, then my miles increased and I started having problems.  The app would only include certain data (pace, elevation, heart rate).  As the miles increased even more the watch would die or I would lose large chunks of data.  Because I read all of the reviews and understand battery life I always have heart rate and music turned off for the longer runs (over 8 miles).  This did not help.  I tried initiating the run on my phone, I tried initiating the run on my watch – still incomplete data at the end of a run.  I interacted with the apps tech support on multiple occasions and the information was just gone.

The marathon day arrived.  I put my phone on do not disturb, turned off music and heart rate, initiated the run on my watch . . . it died and left NO RECORD WHAT SO EVER of my run.  It was my first marathon but somewhere along the way I learned that my experience was more important than whatever data I would have collected.  I was still upset but put it in perspective and could get over it.

Today I ran for the first time in 2 weeks, a local 10k (NO high rise buildings to block signals, moderate crowds vying for signal but an urban area with adequate signal none the less, and short distance).  First problem: for some unknown reason the app would replay the same song over and over again so I had to go into the music and forward to the next song.  There may be an easier way to do this and it is not impossible that I did something that made this happen but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to undo it and this is not something that should so easily be engaged (this happened throughout the summer, I just forgot about it during my brief hiatus).  About mile 5 I saw the second major problem: the circular dots of the app loading . . . followed by the “START” screen, so now my watch and phone are NOT synched and as predicted I had two copies of the same run. UGH!!!!

So, I may have a deep appreciation for Nike’s aesthetic appeal but I do not love their app developers.  Apple I’m also mad at you for allowing another company to brand your product without making sure that their stuff is up to par.  I CANNOT recommend the Apple Watch/NRC+ combo for anyone training to run a marathon and question its usefulness for shorter distance training.  Like a pair of dedicated shoes, it looks like I will have a dedicated watch for running.

I trained for this

About six months ago I began training for the marathon. The runs got longer and faster, my heart, lungs and legs got stronger.

Sleep got short.

Slowly I cut back on cheeseburgers, I officially bowed out of functions where late hours and wine were part of the package.

My strength training took a back seat to sleep on non-running days. (This would come to bite me.)

I became one of those people who says “only 8 miles” and does ice baths. I STAY hydrated and have cultivated a taste for particular GU’s and Nuun.

By no means have I been perfect; but I still trained for this race and on Sunday I will run it. My #1 goal is to have fun and stay injury free (finishing is a foregone conclusion). I would really like to finish in under 5 but as my first this is a guaranteed PR. I’ll be happy if everything in #1 happens in under 5 1/2. If it’s hot, that number will creep closer to 6.

When it’s over I’m almost guaranteed to cry.

the taper

keep-calm-and-taper-on-1Physically my summer of marathon training has left me with very few ailments: I had a really bad blister early on, some Achilles agitation and most recently a budding IT band problem. The last two have really flared up since the temperatures began to rise and our miles peaked; so I’m resting this taper!

By resting I mean foam rolling, more stretching (instead of none), stabilizing exercises and sleeping. All things that I knew I needed to do but really didn’t, my most often used excuse was lack of time.

Mentally I am so excited, I’m on TEN! There’s no guilt from not running as much, there are some jitters about running 26.2 miles but I won’t be alone and I know I’ll be fine.  But man oh man am I going to miss my training group!  This because very apparent when I looked at a photo of us from the beginning of training and felt weepy eyed: that used to be a group of strangers to me/my Dad’s friends, and now they are people with names that I know, voices I recognize because we’ve spent so many hours talking about and through the miles, friends that I will miss.

After our final group run I had my first sports massage for the above mentioned IT issue and Achilles ache – oh the pain, my solace was found in knowing that I would feel better eventually.  Of course then I went to sleep and woke up with sore muscles.  Do your foundation stuff children (stretch, foam roll, strengthen your stabilizers).  Afterwards there was an informal BBQ at the beach and just relaxing (and not running) by the lake with my newfound group was great!