Case in point. Lets not even talk about the facial expression. I was trying to sprint here, and I always open my mouth during hard effort. Not sure why. (It started in childhood during gymnastics. There were noises then, too, a la Monica Seles.). So, not sure what was happening with my legs here, the L one is crooked to the L, I am about to land way in front of my pelvis, my arms are not sure what to do with themselves....Pretty bad!
In May I ran a 1/2 marathon and when I looked at the pictures I was appalled. I looked hunched over in all of them (worse than this, if you can imagine). I started reading about form, and made some changes such as shortening my stride, increasing my stride rate, paying attention to my posture, standing up straight, landing under my pelvis, and striking with my forefoot.
When I got my pics from the Swanzey Half I ran in September, I saw a huge improvement in my form. I was running straight, with a short (and quick) stride. This picture was taken at the beginning of the race (mile 4 or so), where I made a conscious effort to keep good form (I was looking down at my feet, very serious, concentrating on my form).
So I made some improvement. But, obviously I need more work with my form when I get tired. I can hold on to an OK form up to mile 20, but when my legs get tired, my form gets out of place - I hunch over, my stride becomes too long, my arms all over the place, etc. So what to do? What exercises/drills are you doing for form? Any suggestions about improving form during the last miles of a long race? I don't want to be nicknamed the "hunched over runner". Help!
It's been 4 days since the marathon, and I am not experiencing any postmarathon depression. After Boston I felt tired, in pain and depressed for an entire week. This time around, I am chipper, energetic and very pleasant to be around (and that is not subjective, Chris actually commented on this). Not sure what is going on... I was super busy post marathon with work, and that could have helped. I also swam daily, which gave me an endorphin kick, albeit one that I seem to have to work way harder for (speaking of swimming, why oh why am I having such a hard time with the free style? I am out of breath after ONE lap, it's ridiculous).
Truthfully, I think it may be the realization that I may be am a good* runner. That thought in of itself gives me a runner's high. It's hard to comprehend that in a matter of 5 months I managed to shed 15 minutes off of my marathon time, on an average of 40 miles/week.
I really believe that I can get faster and faster, and I am excited to start training again. Speaking of that, my next marathon is Boston. I submitted my registration yesterday. I am also running the Skyline Fells Race on December 3rd. It is an 8 mile loop, and you can pick how many loops you want to do. I'd like to do 4, but that will depend on the weather and how my legs feel. I am also thinking of racing a Turkey trot. I have not run a short race in a long time, and I am eager to see how fast I can go.
But for now, I am going to continue to rest my running muscles. My ITband is way better; however, I went for a 15 mile bikeride yesterday (my first with a headlamp) and my IT band did not like it one bit. Not a happy camper about this, but I hope time, icing, rolling, will make it better soon! I hate injuries! My plan is to let everything heal, no matter how long it will take. Plus, I really need to work on my swimming as I plan to do some longer triathlons this summer!
Stats: Garmin: 26.4 miles, 7:53 pace Official stats: 26.2, 8:00 pace, 3:29:48 (net time), 3:30:30 (gun time). 10/188 AG Question: Do you all run this much extra during races?
Fun (???) facts: weather was 41 degrees and rain at 8am start; down in the low 30s by 10am, with hard rain and strong wind. *** I am sitting on my couch sipping tea, compression tights on, icepack on my R ITband, feeling great and trying to collect my thoughts about the race. I confess I was a bit disappointed when I saw the results. It was very cold and I only looked at my Garmin's average pace (not time) during the race (the Garmin was covered by my shirt), so I though I did a 3:26, based on my pace... I was also disappointed that I did not start the race faster, that I played it out conservatively hoping to speed up at the end, when it was too late because the weather had turned bad around mile 15 or so.
But then I checked out the results, and saw how hard of a time almost everyone I know had out there, and realized that maybe my race strategy worked out to my advantage given the conditions. As with every race, I learned a lot about myself during Baystate.
I woke up happy to be running, and very excited. It was actually warmer than expected, 41 degrees, and a little drizzle.After agonizing the day before about what to wear, I settled on short tights, and long sleeve tech shirt, a fleece and a tank top that I planned to discard on the course, ear warmers and mittens.
I met Katie at the Arena, and we walked together to the start. I saw and hugged my friends the Sue(s) who ran the 1/2 marathon, and saw a few of my Runaway Moms running group pals who attempted their first full marathon. The atmosphere was great. Everyone seemed excited. I felt the energy of the crowd. It was amazing. When I ran Boston, I was too nervous to really sit with the experience. This time it was different, I took everything in.
The start was chaotic, as the 1/2 marathoners left about 1 min before the marathoners, so we had lots of slow people to weave around for the first 3 miles, until the courses separated. That helped keep the pace down at 8:06. By mile 5 we were averaging 7:58. Katie and i started the run together. She had lots of bad luck with injuries and asthma, in spite of v conservative training, and I knew from the beginning that she was struggling as her breathing was hard.
I felt pretty good from the start. I tossed my fleece and a shirt to the volunteers on the course while yelling: "catch this" (that was fun!). I was v comfortable, actually a bit warm. It was raining a bit, but nothing too bad. The air was crisp, and the course was beautiful. We ran near the Merrimack river for a large part of the race. We had a couple of rolling hills, very mild though. The entire course was mostly flat, as flat as New England gets (which is a rolling kind of flat). At mile 8 we went over the T. bridge. What an experience. I felt like my sneakers had springs on, and I almost lost my balance a couple of time. It was fun, actually, and a nice distraction. Around mile 9 I met a couple of people, mostly 3:30 seekers, and talked a bit. We had a bit of a downhill from mile 9-11, and we were going faster (7:56). Katie stayed behind. I felt a bit conflicted as I would have liked to run together, but I ended up going ahead. I was feeling super. At mile 13 we turned around to run the same 10 mile loop. I liked that, as I knew what was ahead. At mile 13 Chris waited for me and we exchanged my Nuun bottles, and I got more Gu. I felt absolutely awesome and excited. By then it was raining pretty hard, and I started getting cold. I decided to use the I-pod, and that was great. I have never run a marathon with music before (Boston was a huge party, and I did not want distractions from that), but in a small marathon like Baystate it worked great.
At mile 15 I was running with a couple of guys, and one commented that it was really cold. At that point I realized that my fingers and toes were numb. In spite of trying to avoid the puddles, my feet got soaked. No biggie, though. I started feeling a little tightness in my muscles, what is expected after running 15 miles. I was passing a lot of people at that point. Some were walking, some were getting medical help. I was getting colder and colder, so I decided to eat as much Gu as I had (I ate 61/2 total) to give my body all the help I could. When we got to mile 20, I was ecstatic. In spite of feeling cold, I felt amazing. Little pain, no nausea, no lightheadedness, no sign of the "wall". With 6 more miles to go, I decided to go faster. I managed to go down to a 7:55 average during the next couple of miles, but that was hard because my legs and arms were frozen. I panicked for a second because I could not pick up my water bottle from my belt - my brain told my arm to move, but it could not - but I refocused quickly and told my arms that I've got to run and will take care of them later. And then I had this amazing feeling, that everything was perfect just as it was, and I started smiling and encouraging everyone who was running. The spectators were awesome toward the end of the race, so many, including small kids sitting in the freezing rain. They were cheering on me a lot because I was smiling. I was so happy. At mile 25 I could not believe it is going to be over. I did managed to pick up the pace so that the average on my Garmin was 7:53 when I crossed the finish line. It was really cool to hear my name announced as I entered the arena, Ana-Maria V (somehow I am registered as Ana-Maria V, kind of funny, but I don;t think they would have attempted to say my last name otherwise). I passed a couple of guys in the last 100m, just because I could.
The moment I stopped the pain started. My R IT band was tight tight tight, so that I had to hold my leg when walking. My knee was locked. We ran only on the R side of the road, which was cambered, so my R leg overpronated the entire race. I felt some pain during the race, in my hamstring and ITband but the excitement of the race took my mind off of it. Pretty amazing how the mind can overule the pain signal!
I went to the bathroom to change, and there were lots of really tiny girls under the driers trying to warm up. I always said I love my body fat, but have never loved it more than during this race:)
So now the marathon is over, a day in the past. I can't wait to run the next one, which will be Boston. Mostly, I can't wait to do more racing. There are lots of prep races for Boston, and I plan to practice taking risks, crushing and burning during these races, so that I can build confidence come race day. There is no doubt in my mind that I can run a 3:20 next time, assuming proper training and no injury. I train hard (I like to train hard), I work hard, I eat well and can deal with pain and suffering. I love to train! Confidence is what I need to build. My brain needs to habituate to the 7:XX pace, and it will. Each race adds a bit to the confidence. One year and a half ago I Pr-ed in the half marathon running the pace I ran today during the marathon. That was a happy day. Then I ran a marathon, a faster half, an even faster half, and a faster marathon. Really, it feels like the sky is the only limit (and confidence, but that will come. I have a plan for that).
That's all for now. This marathon was a completely difference experience than Boston. I was in a flow, I did not suffer, I did not have to use mantras, or play mind games, I felt one with running, my music, the crowd, and the weather. It was beautiful!
Congrats to Mary for going sub 3:20 (wow) on 3 weeks of training (wow), and being 5/188 in our age group, Katie for being so mentally tough and finishing in spite of terrible asthma and hip pain, Kristina for PRing (the BQ will come), Tami for finishing her first marathon in spite of injury, and to all the Runaway Moms who ran yesterday in the full or half! We did it!
PR by 15 minutes Horrible weather - legs and arm were numb after mile 20, so I could no speed up as planned. Felt AMAZING the entire race, meaning I could have gone faster in better weather. Next time!
I had my last quality run today, 6 miles with 3 @ HMP pace. The weather was beautiful, crisp, and ...chilly! My legs were very stiff during the warm up, but after 3 miles, they did not want to stop! The past few days have been a bit blah....my PC acquired the cyber virus, and for a while I was unable to open any Internet pages (this made me realize how much time I spend on line...for work, too:), I had a "who knows what type bug" (gone now, potentially due to lots of sleep, massive quantities of vit C and garlic, and multiple salt rinses with my netty pot), had a few work deadlines, and my ITB bugged me (what's up with that, I have never had issues with it before). Now all is well, and I am getting excited for the race. The race plan is done, outfit picked, and playlist made (even thinking about it makes me want to run, run, run). Looks like I will be running with Katie (that is, if I can keep up:), hurray!
A few last thoughts before the big day... 1. To the weather - I like cold, I like snow, but can you hold off the rain for the first part of the day?
2. To my legs - you are strong, you are powerful, you can absolutely do it.
3. To my ITband - you better behave, no temper tantrums on race day. Don't make me use the ibuprofen....that would be bad for everyone!
4. To my stomach - I know I was not smart about getting you used to Gus every 40 minutes, like I plan to do during the race. But you can take it. You can adapt. Think of Boston and how good you were! No bathroom stops or nausea, please!
5. To my "private parts" - I know the marathon will be "your first day". There is nothing I can do about that, and I accept it. But don't think I am UtaPippig...and Baystate is no Boston!
6. To my mind - keep all systems in check, and stick with the plan. Keep it slow the first few miles, don't freak out at how hard those miles are going to feel, remember that we typically get into a flow after 3-5 miles, smile, focus, and enjoy the journey.
8. To pain and suffering - I know we will meet, I expect you. Just don't come too early in the game. Shall we rendezvous at mile 20? Later would be even better, you know!
9. To the marathon - you are important, you are intimidating and thus I respect you! But you are just a marathon and I tougher than you! There!!!!
(although some family members might refute the title of this post).
1. I swim and bike a lot. 2. I work on my free style stroke. I might have mentioned my water phobia here on this blog. It stems from a childhood incident where I was thrown in the water. I stayed away until 2 summers ago when I taught myself breast stroke and side stroke. This summer I started to teach myself free style. I think I finally got the hang of it which means that if I keep at it, I may actually become competitive in the triathlons. All this Kona fever makes me want to hang out with the cool kids. Of course, I have to "grow up" first.....give me a few years. 3. I drive the marathon course and take a video. I did this early early in the am, with my husband, who has a mild traffic/driving to new places phobia. It was fun..... 4. I eat. I typically lose my appetite during taper, but this time I am hungry all the time. What's up with that. Good thing I never weigh myself (or bad thing...). 5. I play lighthouse monopoly with my son. He always wins. That's good parenting! 6. I play boggle and quidler with my husband. And win. Despite the fact that English is my second language and my husband majored in English at Vassar. Go me! 7. I picture myself running strong, even though during my last tempo run (6 with 3X7:01) my R ITB (I think) was screaming. I am all about denial. 8. I massage and ice my ITB constantly - proof is the ice freeze mark on my knee, and the fact that the entire R side of my R leg is sore. 9. I breath a lot. 10. I think about my marathon to do list, but really don't do anything off of it (like picking outfit, getting some vanilla GU, writing my race plan, making my playlist, etc). 11. I try to figure out how to leave early from my father in law's 70's surprise birthday, which happens to be the day before the marathon. Also related, I try to figure out how not to eat all the sugary and fatty foods that will be served there (because that would mean making best friends with the porta potties the next day) without appearing rude. 12. I work a lot. 13. I think too much. Always dangerous. 14. I talk too much, and too fast. I have WAY too much energy. Poor Chris - between me and Petru, the man needs to buy ear plugs! 15. I sleep a lot.
I've completed the first week of taper and ran 38 miles (a couple over what I had planned on), and a long run of 15 miles, with 14 @ 7:51. This week I have to get it down to 28, and then the following week down to 18 or less. I know I am not the only one, but I really don't like taper. I understand its logic, and I know how amazing it felt during Boston to have fresh legs and run pain free up to mile 19 (never thought it possible). The differences between then and now are:) 1) then I felt ready to taper (mentally and physically), now I do not (OK, maybe physically I do,but really, legs have been troopers) and 2) then I followed a plan and and now I don't (hence the obsession element in regard to running too little, losing fitness, etc). Of course, I am thinking that maybe I should have ran more miles (though according to Tim Noakes of Lore of Running, one should try to run the fastest at the lowest mileage possible before increasing mileage), or suffered more in training. The logical part of me does know that I really had an awesome training cycle, no missed workout, no injury, a PR in a half marathon...and I need to hold on to that (I will!).
Some blogger had really tough marathons this past weekend (sorry!!!), and it really got me thinking that things CAN go wrong in races, even though I have been so lucky thus far and have never had a bad race. Baystate is a double loop, and I don't know how to feel about that. Given that I have not run on the course, I think the double loop can be an advantage, in that I'll know what to expect the second time. But, it can also be super boring. Plus, I heard that the course is rather boring, and it can get really lonely in the second loop. Also, they don't have pacers for 3:30...what's up with that?
I am in the process of making my race plan, getting a pace tat (it worked once, so I will stick with it; plus, it's lots of fun to have one of those on your arm for, like, a week), figuring out what to wear, figuring out how the fancy laces I bought work (I always have to stop during races to tie my shoelaces...), and mostly coming up with a plan so that I don't end up running .5 mile extra like I did in Boston (that was A LOT of fun:).
Ok, I realized this post is rather boring, but that is all I've got. With less running, expect me to get even more boring this week and next week:) I won't talk about work and parenting here, and that's what I'll be mostly focusing on during the next couple of weeks! Oh, well!
How we know what isn't so; The fallibility of human reasoning in everyday life*****, by Gilovich. Connected: The surprising power of our social networks** by Cristakis & Fowler Heartburn*****, by Nora Ephron
Long terms goals/dreams
Marathon: sub 3:00:00 PR: 3:14:29 Halfmarathon: sub 1:25:00 PR: 1:28:46 5K: sub 18 PR: 17:26 on short course (2.99miles on Garmin) 10K: sub 40