My Super Sweet 13(.1)

A 1st Half Marathon

133 Days Until… (The Starting Line)

My race bibs from 2011 minus one I can't find - not that many; I only started running races in July...

The countdown to the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-Marathon has begun. I have spoken to doctors, I have consulted the person who shares my life and living space (and thus my schedule, dietary whims, and generally everything), I have considered the fiscal and time requirements, and I’ve bought a magazine (always the truest sign of commitment); I have decided to run my first mini-marathon. That’d be 13.1 miles. The longest length I have run is 5 – and I’ve only run 5 races. Ever; I’ll be 31 years old when I run this thing. This will require a lot of work. A LOT of work.

I think I can do it. I managed to hike the Inca Trail – about a marathon’s distance, but spread over four days and in the mountains – so perhaps I can manage to do this. At any rate, I’m going to try. I’m considering running for “Fred’s Team,” which mean’s I’d be running (raising money) for Olmstead Parks, which I use every day because one of the parks is at the end of my block, and I walk my dog, just like Cesar Milan says to, every blessed, cold and snarly Louisville day. I have galoshes, when it gets super dark at 5:30 PM I wear my headlamp. I’m also liking Fleet Feet’s training program with the group runs – I saw people doing them last spring and everyone always looked like they were having fun, and who doesn’t want new friends?:) Walking my dog and doing yoga are two activities I do with regular consistency, and have been doing the former for 5 years and the latter for 13 years, but my gym work is sporadic – usually I hit the gym harder in the colder months – and in the summer I swim laps. I could add my race number – no bib for swimming – from the Ohio River Open Swim, of which I did the 1.2 mile length this past August.

I’m writing all this to assure you that I am active, just not necessarily always a “runner” sort of active. I prefer swimming, to be honest, but it’s hard to get into the pool when it’s cold outside, for me anyway. So I’ve been hitting the pavement and doing some runs and races as the weather’s cooled off, and I wanted to sustain the fitness level I’d been working on for my Inca Trail trek. I really enjoy exercising, but I’m also a quitting smoker – it’s complicated and if you keep up with this blog you’ll hear all about it – and a graduate student working on her dissertation and applying for faculty posts. I am also a adjunct faculty at a local college, where I teach three classes. A few more things: boyfriend, couple of cats, a dog, family, friends, friends having babies in the spring, friends getting married in the spring, and some work travel – but I think the whole “graduating/completing dissertation/finding a job while working and writing” part of my life will be the biggest hindrance on my hopes for the half-marathon, which means I’ll have to be disciplined; I might have to wake up early to run. I might have to not loaf around and make myself get to the morning yoga class in order to not sacrifice it for my evening run. But I kinda dig order.

My eating habits might have to change a little, in the sense that I may need more protein, or maybe more carbohydrates for energy? Definitely things that help your body stay strong and recover from the exercise… Argh. See, this is why I need a training program. I need some direction. I’ve been tracking my calorie and fitness at Livestrong’s Daily Plate since July, which is also when I ran my first 5k (Run for the L of It! – I’d recently become an “alumni” through a degree that I didn’t actually realize I was getting). My time has improved since the first race, I’ve gotten faster, and I enjoyed the IHR Thanksgiving Day 5 miler the most of all the races I’d done, and it was the longest. It takes me a while to get into my running groove, but once I find it – about 5.5 mph – I like it. I just gotta keep at it.

So I’m 20 weeks away and might run, might not today – I’m a little sore from yoga yesterday and the run the day before that, but stats for the past week are as follows:

Walked: 7 days x 1.5 m = 10.5

Elliptical: 4.3/3 = 7.3

Run: 1.2/2.4/2.2 = 5.8

Total Distance: 23.6 / 13.1 “hard” mileage

Part of the running from this week consisted in the first race of the Polar Bear Grand Prix, the Reindeer Romp 4k, which was wicked hard in the cold of the morning. My boyfriend and I are doing all three races – the Frostbite 5k is in January, the Snowman Shuffle 4 miler – together, but he’s not interested in doing the mini-marathon. I so wanted to do the “Triple Crown” – the Anthem 5k Classic, the Rhodes City Run 10k, and Papa John’s 10 miler – but I have a wedding to go to on the same day as the Anthem 5k. I’m wondering if I’ll do the Rhodes and the 10 miler or just one of the two… Decisions. Also hoping for some more 5ks to pop up on the Race Calendar. Anyway, I also ran outside prior to the race and did treadmill work on a rainy day mid-week. I’ve been hella stiff (just got back from an international trip, so I’m still getting the plane/train strain out of my hamstrings and hips) and it’s Christmas time so I’m being very lazy and doing more yoga and elliptical work so I can read magazines while I sweat.

According to Cool Runnings, I should be getting to a point where I can run 35 miles in a week, at a peak point in the training program – most programs I’ve looked at build you up to a pretty long endurance run then pull you back a little bit before the race. I also picked up a copy of this month’s Runners World Magazine, which had a “This Year I Will… Race Farther” snippet:

“Rachel Gaffney, a running coach, says “if you’re looking to up the race-distance ante, gradually boost your mileage for six to sixteen weeks to a new plateau. This let’s your body adapt to the increased demands on your legs and lungs.  Stay on that plateau for an additional four to ten weeks before tapering for your longest-ever race. It’s a safe and solid game plane. Gaffney notes that you may need to exceed these minimums and add tempo runs and speed work, if you have an ambitious time goal. But it’s safest to set a goal of only finishing in your first attempt at a new, longer distance. After all, it’s a guaranteed PR.

  • 5k to 10k: Bump up your training to at least 20 weekly miles in a minimum of three runs, peaking with a long run of 6 or more miles.
  • 10k to Half-Marathon: Log at least 30 weekly miles in at least four runs, culminating in a long run of at least 11 miles.
  • Half to Marathon: The full 26.2 demands at least 40 weekly miles in at least four or five runs. Before tapering, nail one long run of at least 20 miles.”
    Runners World Magazine, January 2012 p. 82 
Like I said at the beginning of this entry, I have a lot to do. I think what I’ll do is try to get in a short run with the boyfriend this weekend – maybe about a 5k, total, with walk-run intervals – and then I’ll try to fit in two more 4.2 (that’s twice a local loop, and a good distance for the Christmas week craziness) equalling out to about 11 miles run for the week. I’d been doing that a bit until right before I left for my work trip, so hopefully I can make this effort to get back to that level (I hate that, when you have to go back sometimes in order to get forward) in the next few weeks, as I’ll be really busy. Once we’re into the New Year, I can work my way up to the “5k to 10k” mark in January. I’ll definitely have to pick a training program, and I may try to meet with a nutritionist on campus (the many joys of academics: you have access to anything health care related at all for zilch).  I’m sticking to my yoga and will hit the elliptical if I’m feeling tired or if my knee (I have a bone spur) acts up from too much pavement pounding. I’m shunning refined sugars and sticking with my strength training twice a week (again, crazy calendar due to holidays – gym shutting down from Christmas Eve to January 4th does not help matters. But let’s try anyway, shall we? Jolly good!