Trusting the Training

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My health humbles me and helps me put my ego in check.  Starting this marathon training after an auto immune flare has had a tremendous effect on my mindset.  I started with no specific goals.   Things like race pace, splits, and finishing time were not even on my radar. I was just happy to be able to run again.

My friend Dawn (who is running this race with me) found the running plan I am using.  The focus is on building miles on your long run days and maintaining your runs with properly spaced runs during the week. And lots of rest (compared to other training plans I’ve seen).  There are no hill repeats or speed work days. Much different then my previous half marathon plan.

So I do not add extra miles because I feel like I can that day. I know that sounds crazy but that is something I might have done a year ago. I now understand that training is a longterm process. It is not about what I think I can do on any given day; it is about allowing my body to adjust to the new standard I’ve set. Gradually. This is where lasting strength gains are found.

It’s also about practical faith. I practice my faith every single day through my training. I believe that through God all things are possible. I trust his guidance. When I first saw this plan it resignated deep. I thought: with this plan I will finish and  I will finish without injury.  I also know that faith requires work.  Everything hinges on my effort and obedience.

Effort is never a problem for me but it takes the hubster to tell you about my struggles with obedience.  I have had to learn to respect my rest days. They are just as important to the training as my long run.  The body needs time to integrate the gains made on effort days.  By not resting, you interrupt the growth process and leave yourself prone to injury and illness.  By finding the balance between rest and effort you master one of the greatest spiritual lessons.

Speaking of effort, I include two days a week of CrossFit to my training.  I believe resistience exercise is a crucial part of remaining injury free.  However, I remind myself every time I step into the Box that my marathon training sets the tone. Just because I can Rx the WOD doesn’t mean I should. Scaling has become my best friend.  🙂

Here is a typical Crossfit workout.

(If none of that Crossfit lingo made any sense to you, click here. :))

So how do I know the training working?  I consistently start strong on my training days and end without feeling totally depleated (more about the roll nutrition and hydration play in this later).  This is also the furthest I have gotten into my training without injury. My level of fitness has improved. I feel it.

I’m getting stronger on God’s terms. I’m okay with that.

Runner

Runner (Photo credit: januartha)

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The Hugest Marathon Hump Ever

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I am half way through my marathon training!

I’ve been pretty quiet about it. I’ve been pretty uncertain about the whole shebang until today. Don’t get me wrong, I was committed to seeing it thru. However,  I am not a whiner and I assure you any post I would have written before today would have been one big crybaby fest.

The first couple of weeks went just fine. I’d been running pretty consistently 15-20 miles a week since my last half marathon.  It wasn’t until week 4 that things got a little squirrely.  It was Ironman week and I had to run  in Florida while supporting the hubster.   I ran 9 miles on accident instead of the 8 on my plan. Really 9.5 because I got lost. On top of it I had to drive the kiddos back home that very same day. My inflamed prone body cried uncle and I ended up in bed on Monday.  So went the trend the next few weeks:

Week 5: Saturday night I went to see Madonna with two girlfriends. Nothing crazy but I don’t think you can consider Sorel+ vodka proper hydration in any quantity.  Ran 10 miles on Sunday. In bed all day Monday.

Week 6: Thanksgiving in Savannah. Enough said.  No regrets but there is a reason I only do that once a year. Traveled all day Sunday. Ran on Monday. In bed all day Tuesday.

Although I could explain away most of my woes to less than race focused decisions, the truth is my body requires a more delicate balance then the average rookie. So back to the drawing board I went.  And I called in my husband in for reinforcement.

Yesterday’s run was glorious. I knew it was going to be at mile 1.5 when I realized that my typical #IhatethisIneedtogetmyheadexaminedthissucks  first 3 mile speech was not playing  in HD quality in my head.

I hesitated to write about it yesterday because as you might have noticed above, the day after the run is when the magic happens. 🙂

So today, I woke up without wincing. I was able to function like normal. Of course I’m sore. Running 14 miles has that effect. But nothing like I’ve been experiencing.

Dare I say it?

I think I’ve figured it out.

This Girl Is On Fire

This Girl Is On Fire!

So what’s my mojo? I think I’ll reveal details a bit at a time. It took me seven weeks to get it together. I promise it won’t take me that long to share.

Here are the components I’ll discuss in later posts:

1) staying true to the training

2)proper rest (not as easy as it sounds)

3) hydration (see #2)

4) nutrition (my achilles heel)

There are also some minor details that I think make all the difference. I’ll cover them real soon as well.

Here’s a recap of my glorious run:

Mile 0- I realized that I left the Aleve I intended to take at home on the armchair of the recliner. I hate taking drugs but I woke up with serious lower back plan. It was give up on the run or take the drugs.

Or so I thought.

I quickly realized that my back felt a lot better.

Let’s go.

Mile 1.5- Realized the above mentioned speech was absent. The weather is perfect, I’m breathing good.

Mile 3- A group of artist had hung origami in a section of trees on the trail. They also had wrapped butcher paper around trees so children passing by could stop and paint. I am reminded that God loves us and wants us to be happy. This is moment is heaven on Earth.

Mile 4.7- The unleashed dog that got in my path did not piss me off. This is major. Actually, I don’t get mad at the dogs, it’s the inconsiderate owners that chafe my hide.

Mile 7- I saw an Indian couple walking hand in hand wearing t-shirts with a red, yellow, and green graphic design of the continent of Africa and the word ‘sankofa’ written under it. Special meaning for me and I loved everything about that scene.

Mile 9- An older man gave me a huge smile and a thumbs up. India Arie’s “There’s Hope” was playing on my iPod. Perfect.

Mile 11- Not sure how I missed the cluster of sand nats (what in the heck are sand nats doing hanging around in December???)  in my path but I ingested about a half-dozen. This would normally totally freak me out. It didn’t. Huge growth in the not sweating the small stuff department.

Mile 13- I noticed two sips into my last canteen that there was mysterious black particles floating in it.  Given that the nats didn’t make me hurl, this surely should have.  Nope. I was just happy I made it to the end without noticing. I also realized that the Universe was paying me back for making fun of my client’s similar experience the day before.  God has a serious sense of humor.

Mile 14- Done. A little nauseous but otherwise feeling good.  I drove 40 minutes home took a quick shower and headed off to my middle son’s championship soccer game 30 miles in the opposite direction. His first game back since his concussion three weeks ago.  He played great. They won.  And I lived to tell all about it. 🙂

A Heart Full of Thanks

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On Thanksgiving morning I woke to a view of the Ocean. I was thankful to be in my hometown sharing the holiday with my family. It was the first trip we’ve taken since Malik went to college. It was a whirlwind of updates and catching up.  The reality of having a co-ed kid is sobering.

Malik is a very social kid and has made a lot of connections. Perhaps his closest new friend is a young man named Brock.  I met Brock a couple of months ago after I took Malik on a Costco run. He came downstairs to help get the loot.  This is was our introduction:

Malik: Brock have you met my mom?

Brock: Mom? Wow. I was thinking sister but okay, nice to meet you Mom.

Instant love. 🙂

Later Malik brought Brock on a quick visit home… the two seem pretty inseparable.  They play on the school’s soccer team together and traveled quite a bit this Fall.  My conversations with Malik were often about the ups and downs of college life… many stories involving Brock. The girls they are dating… why Brock moved into his dorm room in mid November (long story involving disturbing realities of college life)…. oh and “Mom, did I tell you Brock had a heart transplant?”

Yes, he mentioned this major detail as an aside in a miscellaneous conversation. Wow.

Of course I had a ton of questions.

The sum total of Malik’s answers were: He’s living his life Ma. 

As well we all should.  Really the only difference between Brock and any of us is awareness. At a very young age he knows of how important it is to live a life that fully reflects who you are.  At all times.

Here is a Thanksgiving article written about Brock.  I am thankful Malik has made a bond with such a wonderful young man.

Brock and his brother