Monday Check-In

This isn’t my normal Manic Monday training recap, because most of last week I was still sidelined with a tailbone injury. I did have a nearly miraculous improvement (which you can read about here), but I didn’t want to jump immediately back into rigorous training for fear of prolonging full recovery.

That’s not to say, however, that I was completely inactive. Although I wasn’t running, I walked a lot. I walked for nearly an hour on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday on my lunch breaks. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy just walking. It’s still pretty good exercise, but I don’t get nearly as sweaty, so it’s a lot easier to transition back to work clothes afterward.

Also, Ben and I hiked Mt. Mansfield on Saturday. This was the biggest hike I’ve attempted since we hiked Mt. Hunger two years ago, and it’s also the most vigorous activity I’ve undertaken since I fell on my tailbone. It was a pretty tough hike, but my tailbone didn’t hurt at all, so I count that as a win. And afterwards we took a dip at Jeffersonville Falls, so all in all it was a perfect VT summer day.

Now that I’m reasonably sure that my butt’s all healed up, I’ll be easing back into running this week with a few short runs, and hopefully a longish run this weekend while we’re in MA for July 4th festivities.

Did you do any hiking or swimming this weekend?

It’s Race Week!

Here we are. Almost 20 weeks of marathon training, and it’s officially race week. I’m a little bit in shock. In some ways, I’m like “Finally! I’ve been waiting for this forever!” And in other ways I’m like, “Woah, WOAH, I am not ready for this how is it already race week?!”

It’s no secret that training for this race hasn’t exactly been fun. I was overly busy and stressed out trying to train while rehearsing and performing in Mary Poppins. Then I went on vacation and just didn’t train for a week. And then I got hurt, and it all went to hell in a handbasket. For the last month or so, I’ve been whiny, emotional, and thoroughly freaked out about this whole marathon thing. I feel bad for being so negative, but I needed to let those feelings out and process them, and you have all been incredibly kind and supportive, so thank you for that ❤

The good news is, I’m finally starting to get excited. They released photos of the medals this weekend, and they’re GORGEOUS. I can’t wait to wear mine all day on Sunday. And possibly Monday too.

Because I’m just a little bit Type A, I’m trying to approach this week with a plan. I like to be methodical, to feel like I have taken care of everything that’s within my power, so that I can go into the race knowing that I’ve done everything I can, and it’s out of my hands. So that means, it’s list time! Here’s my plan for race week.

  • Hydrate like a BOSS. I’ve got a 32 oz water bottle on my desk at work, and a 25 oz water bottle on my coffee table at home. I aim to drink at least 80 oz of water each day. I’m tracking my intake with an app, cause I like data and certainty.
  • Carb load responsibly. I’m trying not to make this week an excuse to eat like an asshole. I’m trying to get my carbs mostly from whole grains, sweet potatoes, and less fibrous veggies and fruits.
  • Know my sh*t. Study the Runner Essentials handbook. Familiarize myself with the course. Know how I’m getting to the start line. Know where I’m meeting my family after the race. Make sure I have all the information I need so that nothing throws me for a loop and freaks me out on race day.
  • Make self-care and recovery a priority. Stretch. Foam roll. Go to yoga. Take extra good care of my body so I feel rested and well on race day.
  • Get lots of good quality sleep. I know that nerves will probably make sleeping on Saturday night a challenge, so I’m determined to get caught up on rest during the week. In bed, lights out, no later than 10 every night. This may be challenging as I’ve got some fun parties that are happening, but I just need to stay strong and remember that the marathon is a goal I’ve been working toward for months, and I need to prioritize it over partying.
  • Take it one day at a time. I’m doing my best not to freak out. I’m trying to just focus on what I need to do each day, and not worry about what tomorrow will bring. This is hard. I’m worried about the weather, I’m worried about my foot, I’m worried about a lot, but I’m trying not to let it get to me.

Any other advice for marathon prep?

Race Recap: VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 2016

This is a recap of my personal experience at the VT Respite House Jiggety Jog 5k. If you’d like just the nitty-gritty race details, check out my review on BibRave.com here.

Where/When: Williston, VT | May 7, 2016, 9 am
Weather: Sunny, mid-60’s, breezy

Pre-Race:
This is the 3rd year in a row I’ve run this race, and just as in years past, it’s a well-oiled machine. The race starts and ends at the Allen Brook school, so there’s plenty of parking as long as you get there about 8:30. Runners/walkers have access to real bathrooms and running water, which is always a plus. There’s a DJ, music, face painting and kids’ activities, and registration is a breeze, either online or on site.

Just before 9 am, we were told to head out to the start line. Sharon Keegan, the Administrator of Vermont Respite House, said a few words, and we had a moment of silence to remember our loved ones. Runners started first at 9, and walkers/bikers etc started just after.

On the Course:
I woke up feeling really good that morning, and ready to make a PR attempt, with the understanding that if my quad or foot started acting up, I’d back off immediately. I’m very familiar with the course, having run it two times previously, so I felt pretty comfortable setting out at a 9ish minute mile pace. The course has a couple of decently-sized hills, but also several really nice long downhills, which I definitely used to my advantage. I just LOVE to fly down hills.

My first mile beeped in the low 9s and I was still feeling good, so I just focused on keeping a comfortably hard pace and trying not to over-do it. I have a tendency to let my fear of blowing up keep me from pushing in races, so I was trying to find the balance. Every time I looked at my watch, I was surprised by how fast I was going, and still feeling pretty good. Just before mile 3, I got a rush of adrenaline, which made me feel kind of sick, but also helped me push through with a fast finish. As I crested the final small hill toward the downhill finish, I saw 27:xx on the race clock, and knew I was in for a PR, so I kicked it as much as I could, and finished with 27:32 on my Garmin.

Post-Race:
27:32–that’s over a minute off last year’s 5k PR at the same race! And when I checked my splits, the were perfect–9:01, 8:56, 8:43, last .11 at 7:23 pace. I was delighted, but also still feeling kind of sick, so I grabbed a bottle of water and walked around for a bit. I went to my car and changed into sandals, and then went inside for some food. The spread continues to impress–bagels, cider donuts, coffee, water, juice, granola bars, apples, bananas, and cookies.

I sat at a picnic table, watching the finish line, eating my snacks, and basking in the glory of my shiny new birthday PR. When they posted the official race results, it was even more awesome–27:30! Fourth in my age group, just like the last two years. They did the awards ceremony with medals for 1st and 2nd in each 10 year age group, plus medals for overall male and female winners, and then presented certificates to the top fundraisers.

Even without the PR, this is still my favorite race, and I will be back every year. The sense of community is incredible, and the Respite House staff and volunteers are truly so grateful for support and participation. They remember people from year to year. The Respite House Administrator, Sharon Keegan, gave me a huge hug, asked about my family, and took a picture with me to send to my mom. That’s about as good as it gets 🙂

Photo May 07, 10 40 49 AM

When racing, how do you know when to rein it in and when to push?

Vermont Respite House 5k Jiggety Jog and Fun Run

I’ve registered for yet another 5k!  This one is supporting an organization that is really important to me.  The Vermont Respite House provides 24-hour end-of-life care for Vermonters who have terminal illnesses.  Personalized meals, massage, and the ability for beloved pets to stay with patients in the facility are just a few of the wonderful services offered.

My grandmother, Patricia Buckler, spent the last few weeks of her life at the Vermont Respite House, and honestly, if it weren’t for the care and attention she and my whole family received, I don’t know how we would have gotten through such a difficult time.  Not only was my grandmother given the best care, but the staff counseled the entire family through “letting go” and being able to say goodbye.

My mother was actually the top individual fund raiser for 3 years running, but due to bursitis in her hip, she’s no longer able to participate.  That means it’s up to me to carry on the family legacy and raise money in memory of my Gramma Pat.  I have set a personal goal of raising at least $1000 before the race on May 10.  That’s the day after my birthday, so instead of gifts, just donate! 😉

If you are interested in reading more about the Vermont Respite House, or donating to my page, please click here.  Every little bit goes directly towards helping a wonderful organization.

Have you ever done a race to raise money for a charity, or in memory of a loved one?

Crazy Thoughts

So I was just putting my half marathon training schedule down in my calendar, and if I keep to the schedule (hit all schedule runs and mileage), theoretically I should be ready to run a half by the end of May.

wait-what-meme-rage-face

Those of you who have been following my journey know that I wasn’t actually planning to run a half until the fall.  I just wanted to give myself plenty of time so I wouldn’t freak out over the enormity of it.  I didn’t even think about the fact that my training program was only 10 weeks long.  Granted, I’ve already had to repeat one of those weeks due to missing a long run, but even so.

I am actually considering running a half this summer instead of waiting until the fall.

Friends.wikia.com

I know, it sounds crazy, but I’m afraid that if I complete the training program and get to the end of May and don’t actually have a race, I’ll get bored and fall off the training band wagon.  I suppose I could repeat the program, or come up with some kind of extension, but that would most likely be boring too.

Do I really want to run a half marathon in June or July?  Short answer:  hell no!  Vermont may be known for cold temperatures and snow, but trust me, it gets super hot and humid here too.  I’d be terrified that race day would dawn with a high of 90* and 90% humidity, in which case I’d die of dehydration before I went 3 miles.

So now I’m not really sure what to do.  There are a couple of halves happening end of June and mid-July that I’m interested in–they’re in the southern part of the state, so I’d have to weekend with my parents and get them to shuttle me around, but that could actually be cool.  I’m sure they’d love to come support me.  And if it goes well, I could still do one of the other half marathons I originally wanted to do in the fall.

What do you think–should I take a chance and sign up for an earlier half, or wait until the fall?