Friday, January 29, 2010

Just put one foot in front of the other until you're done

The beautiful thing about running long distances? Once you're halfway, you can't give up. It's similar to getting a tattoo-once you start you can't stop.

With a long run, odds are half of your total distance is no longer than a distance you've run before-so you can do it. It's AFTER the halfway point that you get tired and want to give in. However, you only have 2 options: keep running or walk. And if you walk it's going to take you a lot longer to get home than if you run. And in the winter, you'll get real cold, real fast if you walk.

This is why running outside in the winter is a good idea. You'll always finish your run.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Crappy Weather

Living in MN I should have known that deciding to train for a marathon in May would be a bad idea. It's not just that I'm forcing myself to go running in snow and slush, it's that as of late I have been prevented from running by the snow and slush. Due to a bad experience I would rather not run, than run on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill makes me angry.

Running in icy conditions is something I refuse to do. It's not worth falling and breaking something. Sure, I can still run with a broken arm, but not a broken leg.

When I am able to run, I'm submitting myself to cold wet feet due to my shoe choice. Perhaps I should have picked a different model of vibrams like this one, but it's too late to change that. I have a feeling that my feet would still get wet as the slush usually seeps in between my toes (and the ultralite hiker in me says it's unnecessary weight). I wear wool Injiji socks which deal with the occasional slush-pile quite well while still keeping my feet comfortable, but when it's nothing but slush there's no help.

The point of this post is: I haven't gone running in 3 days due to this crap-tastic weather and I'M CRANKY! Hell or high water, I'm going running tonight. I'm considering double layering my socks for warmth (it's going to be a balmy 2 degrees with a windchill between -12 and -2) and I'll definitely be putting the capeline on underneath my running tights (which, btw, don't help with with frog look) and confiscating my fiance's old wind shirt.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Took the Vibrams outside

After a horrible experience on the treadmill in my campus's gym (that prevented me from finishing my long-run and kept me from running another day after) I was pushed over the edge. I drove over to REI and bought myself some Injini toe socks for my Vibrams. I then enjoyed a run outside in the snow and slush.

My feet were a little cold to start with, but only on the bottom of my feet. The rubber on the bottom of my Vibrams is not a very good insulator and the sock isn't thick enough to provide warmth (especially when I'm compressing it). As I got more warmed up my feet felt fine. I was generally able to avoid slushy areas well enough that I didn't get my feet wet.

Unfortunately I got a little over-zealous and did end up tromping through some slush, which then went in between my toes and got my foot wet. Luckily, I was almost done with my run at this point, though I have to say it wasn't as cold as I thought it would be.

Tonight is a 4-mile, outdoors of course. I'll be starting my run around 4:30/4:45ish, which means I'll be running in the dark for most of it. It will be much colder than my early afternoon run yesterday and I'm worried that it will be too cold for my feet.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Soothing sore legs

I can't say I was surprised when I walked into our bedroom and found Matt using my rolling pin on his calves. Knowing Matt, nothing surprises me anymore. I did, however, need a moment to absorb the scene. Sure I've heard of products that you use to massage your legs post-run to help your muscles recover, but I didn't necessarily approve of the confiscation of my rolling pin for a purpose that I was skeptical of, at best.

I have to say, it works. After complaining about my sore calves Matt convinced me to try it and the next morning I felt great. No post-run soreness or stiffness. Since then I've been rolling pin(ning?) my calves each night after I run.

Of course, I urge you to support good products that work....but if you happen to be a poor college student like me I recommend making friends with your rolling pin.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dear Dean Karnazes

You may be an amazing runner and fully of great training advice, but I cannot read any of the crap you write. Maybe it's because I was spoiled with my first book about running-it was written by an ex-journalist who has training in writing, which you clearly do not...but I won't hold that against you. It's probably because your writing consists of loudly and endlessly tooting your own horn. I wasn't 2 chapters in to Ultramarathon Man and I had already gotten sick of hearing about how low your body fat is, your excellently toned forearms, how your middle school track coach favored you, how you won the championship for your coach in high school, how awesome you are. Blehck. Give me a break. I picked up your book because it inspired my fiance and I thought it might inspire me. I ended up throwing it across the room after your ego got so big that there was no room for it.

Oh and, P.S. - vests don't have sleeves.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1st day training

I have my very first running blister. Badge of honor? I think so.

2 miles for today, an easy start. I typically run for 20 minutes at 5mph, so I thought I would up myself to 6mph to finish the 2 miles in the same time. Turns out 1mph makes a HUGE difference! My calves hurt, and, like I said, I have a nice little blister. It was hard to push myself to finish.

Lesson learned: don't push too hard too soon. I'll be going back to 5mph tomorrow.

More about my training schedule

The longest/only race I have ever ran was a 5 miles road race. I finished in under an hour, but I did stop to stretch/rest briefly during the race. My goal with this marathon is to not have to stop. I will be running a 5K on February 13th with my fiance in celebration of Valentine's Day (the race starts where he proposed). This falls into my schedule the day before an 8-mile run, so it should be an easy warm-up. It will probably be too cold to run in my Vibrams that day so I will be forced to run in my old Mizuno Waves. I'm curious to see how it feels.

I adapted the plan from a schedule in the appendix of Dean Karnazes's book 50/50. His "beginner's" marathon training program assumes starting at a point of never running before. Since I run pretty consistently, albeit casually, I was able to put my starting point a few weeks into his program.

While my fiance recommended doing long runs on Saturday and shorter runs/rest days on Sundays, Karnazes recommends Monday being a no run/rest day. I ended up going with this choice, purely for convenience as I have work/class from 8am-9:30pm on Mondays.

I also had to adjust for the time frame that I have. Right now there are 17 weeks until the marathon, and Karnazes's program is 26 weeks. Even shaving off a few weeks for my personal training level I ended up 1 week short of his plan. So, in my final weeks, I squished some things together. My longest run before the marathon will be 20 miles, and that will be the Sunday before the race. This obviously isn't the best situation but I think it will work out ok.

If you look at Karnazes's schedule you'll also notice that there are a lot of "optional" runs. I made sure to put these runs into my schedule as much as possible, unless my work schedule didn't permit. As I plan to be an ultra-runner I think it's important to build up a stamina of running 5-7 days a week.

Today marks my first day of training with a 2-mile run.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Marathon Chosen

Saturday May 8th I will run a marathon in Saint Joseph, MN; the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon. Of course, it isn't an actual trail race. The trail is FLAT and PAVED....a pretty easy course as far as marathons go. I'll move onto trail races later.
This gives me 17 weeks to train. I was planning on waiting until fall to run one but my fiance, who is crazyrunnerguy for a reason, convinced me that I can do it sooner. I'll be planning my training around the beginner's guide in Dean Karnazes's book 50/50.

Of course, this is contingent upon his availability to participate as my pacer...but, depending on how my training goes, I might just do it without it.

**Edit** Find my training schedule here

1st Running Goal

I will run a marathon this And by barefoot I mean in my Vibram Five Fingers.

I used to be a casual runner. I ran because it was good for me, not because I enjoyed it. Running made my feet hurt, my back hurt; it was a struggle to put one foot in front of the other. It didn't look or feel as pretty and effortless as my fiance does when he runs. I only ran when I was so angry I wanted to beat on myself.

I switched to Vibrams when someone suggested that it may be what's on my feet that's causing the problem. So I headed over to my favorite gear store, Midwest Mountaineering, and picked up a pair of Vibram Sprints. For the first time I was not
only able, but wanted to run 5 days in a row. My back feels great, my legs feel stronger, I have visibly improved posture. Running actually feels good.

I've been using a treadmill since the shoes don't offer much weather protection and I was surprised to look up and see my reflection smiling back at me while I was running. It's amazing.

The best part is, my Vibrams are cheaper than any other running shoe I've purchased and they'll last WAY longer.

Welcome to my blog, which will chronicle my experience in becoming an ultra-marathon runner while getting married, going to law school, and (possible) moving across the country.