Friday, September 30, 2011

Taper and Doubts

I am officially tapering for the marathon in..glup..two weeks. Damn! Where did the time go!? It wasn't that long ago I was writing about the start of training. Now, I am sitting here stressing about the race.

I am not stressing about finishing. I will finish. I am stressing about my performance. Can I do what I want to do? Do I have it in me? Everyone keeps telling me "you look strong, you can do it." But only if I can believe that I can and there is my problem.

I talk a big talk, but in truth, I have no will power. The negative thoughts creep in, take a vice like hold and many times I lose the battle and play it safe. This time, I am hoping I can put up a good fight or at least long enough to get me close to the finish line or even, mile 23. Keep my feet moving at a 10 m/m pace. It isn't that I want to PR (trust me I do). It is more than that. It is me testing me. Does that make sense?


What I am excited about is my sister is flying in to see the race. No one in my family has come out to see a race. Not because they don't want to, but just not possible. It means a lot to have her out there and will definitely keep me motivated.

Tomorrow -- 2 hour run. Wooo hooo. You know you are in taper when you are happy about a 2 hour run!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Say what?! K-Team

I am excited!! Why? Because of this --- Katherine Switzer is coming to Syracuse and I get to be part of the K-team. I am excited to wear a shirt to support Katherine and all that she has accomplished. Her book Marathon Woman was such an inspiration to me at a time when I really needed it. My favorite part was how she started running out in her backyard as a kid.

It still boggles my mind that it really wasn't that long ago that people really, truly thought women running was not feminine (ugly) and dangerous. I guess that is why I have an issue with
IAAF's decision to make women's world records in running only count if it was an all women's race. S.T.U.P.I.D. If I get to meet Katherine Switzer I would like to ask her what she thinks about this new rule.

Tomorrow is our last long run before taper. 3:45 hours or 21 miles around Onondaga Lake. I HATE this route. But technically we are running it in Fall so, it will still suck.

Next Sunday, 16 -- then 8 and then...MARATHON TIME. Still have not figured out what my race pace/strategy will be. I also have to figure out what the hell I am going to wear to the start line!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This has been a whirlwind of a week. My BFF and her hubby flew in for a wedding this weekend. They stayed with us for a few days and we were able to hang out with my other BFF, Jen. The three of us are the 3 stooges & musketeers all rolled up into one. It amazes me how effortless our friendship is and how we can pick up right were we left off no matter how long it has been since we saw each other. It was great to spend time with them for a few days. They left on Wednesday and my in-laws arrived later in the afternoon.

Thursday was John's vet appointment. We decided not to do x-rays because we didn't want to risk setting off another seizure. Instead he is on a different pain/maintenance drug and we are going to try acupuncture/herbal treatment. The vet they referred is highly recommended so...fingers crossed.

As I was driving my in-laws around town there was a horrendous grinding noise coming from the back brakes. Lovely. It was so bad, that we decided my car had to be taken to be checked out. Dropped it off before dinner and three hours later and over $400 I have two new brakes and rotors. WTF.

We had a lovely dinner on Thursday and I am still thinking of the lasagna. Ate the entire thing -- don't judge. When we got home, Lily, our evil younger greyhound mix, decided to break-in the guest room and tear it up looking for candy. I felt so bad that my in-laws suitcases were defiled!! Lily was fine and was acting like a 2 year old on crack.

Obviously there wasn't a lot of running this week. I didn't even bother to write down my mileage on my calendar because I didn't want to see how lazy I was this past week. See, the problem I have is that I enjoy NOT running as much as I enjoy running. Anyway, I did get in a few short runs here and there.

Saturday I took Lily for a 4 mile run and she kicked my ass. It is sad when your dog is mocking you about how slow you are AND yes, she was mocking me! I could practically hear her saying "COME ON!!! Why are we going so slow!" as her little black ass was straining to go faster. Flipping dog didn't even break into a pant, but I was huffing and puffing. Very embarrassing.

Today was a 19 mile run and it felt great. A lot of it had to do with the weather. It was down right cold this morning! Took me about 2 hours to warm up enough to shed my long sleeve shirt. The best part of the run is I think I found something that works for me, nutrition wise. Andes candy. Yep. The chocolate little mints. Easy to carry. Tasty. And just enough sugar.

4 weeks till the Empire Marathon. Let the countdown begin.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Empire State Marathon - Course Preview

Our 20 mile run this morning was our practice run on the Empire State marathon course. It is great to be able to do a local marathon that you can go out and get a feel for the course and an idea for what to expect. After today's run, I feel more confident and have a better idea of where to conserve energy and when to pace.

Here is my review of the Empire State Marathon course.

This is not an easy course by any means, but nor is it horribly challenging. Training on hills are a must to have a successful race though. Those who are used to or have trained on flat will be in for a not so pleasant surprise. The ESM is all about the rollers.

We start at the beginning of the East trail -- this would be 3 miles from the start. After we got out of the park that is when the fun really begun.

There is a small uphill up to the bridge and then we turned on Hayes Rd. Hayes is a very quiet road and when running alone you may hear the theme song from Deliverance playing in the background. The scenery for the most part is okay. There are some houses that you think cannot possibly be inhabitable. However, it might be different when the leaves start to change because there is a lot of foliage and parts are pretty. Key word. Parts.

What I am concerned about on this stretch is the crowd support. Meaning, there will be none. There is no where for spectators to park and/or stand to cheer -- especially if the road isn't closed. My gut feeling is this is going to be a lonely couple miles unless the people who live along this stretch come out to cheer.

The other part that runners need to be aware of is the Hayes Rd. grinder. It is a slow gradual incline at the end. It is hard to get a sense from this picture, but it is a steady incline back up to Rte. 370.

What this picture also represents is 90% of what the run will look like -- open farmland. It is a lot of country road running. If it is windy the day of the race -- it is going to be brutal. 'Nuff said.

As we hit the top, we turned back on Rte. 370 to head to Baldwinsville. What I like about 370 is you can see the hills ahead of you. There are two in particular I remember on this stretch.

This one - a slow gradual climb -- again hard to get an idea from the pic. Jen and Shannon are also not happy that I took a picture of their backside. However, on the other side of this hill is a nice loooong downhill. Then there is another quick, steeper uphill afterwards. That one was harder than this one, at least in my opinion.

This is the end of the pictures because at this point I was getting really tired and have already sweat ed out about 5 lbs. After the 2nd hill we are heading into the village of Baldwinsville.

Once we get into the village we take a little jaunt to the left on a little side street -- this takes us around the back of the village and on a cider type path. I do not like this section. Other people might, I don't. At one point I was waiting to see a homeless camp and it stinks because of the river. On race day when the weather is cooler, maybe it will be different. But this little part. Not pretty. Thank goodness we were only on it for less than a mile.

Around the back of the village and up to a main street -- turn right and another right (you are on Rte. 31) to be on the main drag. We are running down the middle of village of B'ville. The smell of the B'ville diner in the air. BEST burger ever, btw.

Here is the thing about this part -- we are 13 miles into this run (16 on race day) when a hill comes out of no where. Seriously. You. Do. Not. See. It. Coming. I am not even sure WHERE the incline starts, but suddenly, you feel it. Then you look up and realize you are on a fairly steep hill. We've named it "the fucker." I think this is the hardest hill on the course. It is just...awful. It starts when you are heading out of the village and goes up to the Budweiser plant. It is a total kick in the balls. Watch for it.

There is another decent roller, but after the one by the plant, it seems cake. When you turn on River Rd., the worst is behind you. There is one nice size roller near the end of River Rd., but nothing horrible. After that roller it is home free...meaning it is FLAT all the way home. This would be around mile 20 into the race. The last 6 will be flat. It is just mile 6.5-20 you have the hills.

I've come to the realization that this is not going to be my super goal race of 4:15. I don't think I can pull it off with all the rolling hills. Instead I am going to shoot for a 4:22-4:25, which will still be a PR for me.

We shall see what race day brings.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

20 miler - Ready or Not

Saturday is our scheduled first 20 mile training run on the Empire State marathon course. I plan on writing a detail description with elevation on my blog. Hopefully this will give people coming in for the race some idea of what to expect. But here is a sneak preview:

The start and end of the race is flat (6 miles). We run down the Onondaga Parkway which is a pretty with the lake, but there is absolutely no shade or protection from wind. Nada. Nothing. The course takes you into the park -- the trails will not be closed so people will be out there doing what they normally do. However, good news in the a.m. it won't be crowded, but for the middle/late packers for the marathon, expect people on the way back in.

Runners will come in on the East trail -- flat and has three bathrooms along the way -- Willow Bay is the third and closest to the trail. As you go under the bridge and head to the dog park (near the end) there is one more bathroom right by the dog park. Half marathoner's turn around at the dog park and marathoner's head out on Rte. 370.

Rte. 370 to Hayes Rd. Hayes Rd is a loop that will take you back to 370. Here is the thing to remember about Hayes. There is a decent sized climber at the end of Hayes. And when I say climber, I also like to call it a grinder.

After that, you will have to wait till the next post. But from what I hear, it is a lot of rollers.