“Only” 10 Miles + My Philadelphia Marathon Goals

Today I did “only” 10 miles. My last long run before the marathon.

Whoa. I remember the first day I ever got up to 10 miles, about 3 1/2 years ago. My whole body was burning and I was questioning my sanity.

Now 10 miles is my “easy” run? PERSPECTIVE SHAKEN.

I haven’t written much about this training cycle, other than about my Ragnar experience, and a couple of other things. (And can I just stop for a moment and say how crazy is it that I’ve been running long enough to actually have training CYCLES?) Truth is, there hasn’t been a lot of drama, and I haven’t had a lot of time. This year, Coach Erin laid out a plan for me to run 5x per week, and that combined with me being a good girl and going to bed earlier means less writing time. But now I’m in the taper, oh glorious taper, and all of those posts that have been burning a hole in my brain are coming out now, when I actually get hours of my life back!

For the first time in my life, I worked out SIX DAYS PER WEEK, sometimes even SEVEN! (5x running and 1x spin or swim) and my body adapted well. My feet hung in there – barely. (The foot drama needs its own post, TBD). Erin gave me some challenging workouts…

marathon training track repeats speedwork

That workout was so hard, my head FELL OFF.

…I had a couple of horrible long runs…

bad runs, marathon training, long runs

Even beautiful scenery sometimes cannot make a bad 17-miler disappear.

But more often than not, I had some really, really good long runs.

marahton training long runs

That 20-miler was SO GOOD, Lori and I were emanating rainbows.

In early October, I had a moderate setback with my foot and with Ragnar taking more out of me that I’d planned, but despite those things, I’m pleased with the way my body has handled the training. BUT, will these 16 weeks of mostly good training translate on race day? YIKES. Ooof. I don’t know, but I’ll go ask my little friend Ambien.

Speaking of, here are my goals. For races, I often have an A, B, and C goal, because I’m a teacher and I like neat and orderly thoughts. But for this race, I have one and ONE ONLY:

MY GOAL: To not let the race break me.

I know I will probably hit The Wall somewhere after mile 20, and I know my foot might rebel at some point, but I hope that I can handle it better, push through it, and not want to cry or quit, like last year, when I felt like the distance broke me. If I can accomplish that, then I’m figuring a faster time will naturally follow.

Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t have a specific number in my head, but I’m going to keep it between me, Lori, and Coach Erin for now. Oooooh, secrets!

Enjoy the taper, friends!

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A Weird Run

A recent long run was weird for several reasons:

  • It was very cold. That in and of itself isn’t weird. But I didn’t bail because of it, which is weird.
  • I had a cold. Didn’t bail. Weird.
  • We went to the Jersey Shore for the weekend. It snowed there. Beach + snow = weirds me out.
  • I peed under a bridge. Sorry, TMI, but weird.
  • And finally, when hubby and I ran on the boardwalk, it looked like this:

That's hubby, running on the right. I can tell that's him because uh, HE'S THE ONLY PERSON AROUND FOR MILES.

Weird, weird, WEIRD!!

(Now that I’ve typed the word weird several times, I’m staring at it, and I think I’ve misspelled it because it looks weird.)

So my weird run began just after dawn. I needed to get in 7 miles, according to my race calendar. Hubby and I had a rare opportunity to run together, so we mapped the route and went. It was about 20 degrees, but the wind…oh, the wind…was gusting about 30 m.p.h. I knew it was going to be a slog.

That's Mr. See-Nancy-Run and myself, at the start of the weirdness. Oh, another small, but weird thing: I forgot my contacts and had to run with my eyeglasses. Always weird.

We started on the boardwalk and realized we were the only ones there. If you’ve ever been to Ocean City, New Jersey’s boardwalk, you were probably there with throngs of people. I felt like I was in the twilight zone as we ran through…no one.

O.C. got about 3 inches of snow the night before. You’d think that 3 inches wouldn’t be that hard to run through, and I didn’t think it was at first…until about mile 2, when my ankles started to throb. I guess I was running stiff-footed in order to try and “grip” the boards (at times the wind had blown away the snow leaving a sheet of ice). Just keep going, I chanted to myself.

We ran to the end of the boardwalk and into the beautiful Gardens neighborhood of O.C. This was going to be an out-and-back run, meaning you run in one direction, hit the halfway mark of your goal, turn around and run back. Our goal was to get to the base bridge off the island, at the 3.5 mile mark, and turn around.

The problem is, by the time I was within a mile of the bridge, I really had to pee. I’m horrible at timing my fluids. We knew that the restrooms on the boardwalk would likely be open on the way back, but dammit, that would throw off the course. Must get to bridge! There’s a beach entrance at the base of the bridge. I was hoping for a port-a-toilet there, but no such luck. I really needed to go.

Hubby and I ran to the beach and I was desperate. So I ducked under the bridge, just where it meets the sand. Peeing outside is always tricky, but 30 m.p.h. winds required a level of deftness that I wasn’t sure I had. But mission accomplished, and we set off back through the gardens. Of course, we passed not one, but two port-a-toilets at house construction sites on the way back. Grrr.

Back on the boardwalk, there were more footprints, but still basically empty:

See that building on the far left horizon? That’s the Music Pier. It has restrooms, just so you know. (I timed those fluids very badly.)

It’s already a slow run and I’ve stopped twice, why not take a photo of myself in triple layers in the shadow of the music pier?

If photos could convey bitter cold, you'd be grabbing a blanket right now.

So as the run ended, I grabbed an “arty” picture of…

…my duck-footed footprints.

Soemtimes on long runs I push myself to do a little extra, but this time I stopped the second the GPS hit 7.00, and not one hundredth of a mile more. The weird run was over.

Oh, and as I walking back to meet hubby, I started to see a few more people on the boardwalk. Guess what they were doing?

Running.

No doubt about it, runners are weird.

Had any weird runs lately?