24 Days and Counting . . .

>> Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Wineglass Marathon is only 24 days away! We're getting incredibly excited about it, too! We each are in the middle of our last "hard" week before our taper. Only one super-long 20-miler to go. Then, it's smooth sailing until October 3rd. My goal for this race is to finish in under 4:00:00.

To be honest, I'm nervous about my ability to meet this goal. I'm also incredibly nervous about injuring myself in the middle of the race (it happened in Philly last November). One more thing: I'm scared that I'll get sick before the race (also like last year). I'm not one to make excuses, especially for my running, but my finish time last year (4:10:40) was definitely impacted by everything I just listed.

Here's specifically why I'm freaking out:
  1. I trained very well last year, at least in my opinion. I rarely missed a workout in Hal Higdon's Intermediate I plan. My pace (and race times) all pointed to a 4-hour finish (3:58 to be exact). I felt confident. But I may have run my long runs too fast. Usually they were between 9-min to 9:10-min per mile -- since it was my first marathon, I think I probably should have done a beginning plan . . . and slowed these runs to maybe 9:20 to 9:30 pace.
  2. The very day after my last 20 mile run last year, I feel terribly ill with bronchitis. I was sick -- in bed -- with a fever for nearly an entire week (I also missed four days of work, which isn't typical for me). The cough lingered until a few days before the marathon, and I'm almost certain the lung damage was still there on race day. Plus, having a fever for a week isn't exactly good for healing muscles. Ugh.
  3. I don't know how it happened, but around the middle the marathon, I developed tendinitis in my left foot. It felt like my foot would split in half and break. Dramatic, but I was almost crying the whole last half. I kept going on it because I had done all the training -- I couldn't imagine not finishing! I couldn't run for several weeks after the race. Really, I could hardly walk. I did a lot of indoor cycling and about two months after my finish, I could manage 3 miles again (with some pain). I'm hoping this doesn't happen again. It was awful!

In the back of my mind, I am thinking about all of these things. I'm hoping that this year, I'm stronger. I already feel less tired this training season -- I remember last year, I would fall asleep at 9PM and have a heck of a time waking up each morning. I'm rebounding from my long runs faster. I'm also trying to take them slower and get more time on my feet.

My pace is around the same as it was last year for these runs, but I know that my racing pace is faster (because I've improved dramatically in the half marathon, from a 1:53:49 last year to a 1:46:31 this year).

One reason I'm really hoping to stay injury free is because this past weekend while we were in Philly, we were feeling so nostalgic for the marathon . . . we decided to see if there were any spots left. And there were (and are still, if you're interested!). Yes: WE SIGNED UP FOR THE PHILADELPHIA MARATHON -- again. It's on November 21st this year. This gives us 7 weeks between races.

I'm going to follow Hal Higdon's "senior" marathon plan -- which features only 3 runs per week and two days of stretching/strengthening (can you say YOGA?).

I'm hoping to cruise on all the hard training I've already done and just maintain. I think it can be done, and I'm excited to see how training three days a week feels for my body.

But . . . one thing at a time. Wineglass is the immediate goal.

Last night, I decided to up my 8 mile run to a 10 mile (I missed my 12-miler over the weekend due to some family issues). I was extremely apprehensive about it, too. I mean, it's only 2 additional miles, but after working at 9 to 5 job, my energy is sort of, well, not there. Back up for a minute: I started off the day with a great 3 mile Vibrams walk (I jogged a mile in the middle). I just felt like I wanted to get out into the crisp air. It was a great way to start the day.

After work, I rushed into the house to get my gear on. I drank some water and munched on a corner of the vegan chocolate chip shortbread. Stephen ran the first 5.2 miles with me. We held a nice average pace of around 8:22 per mile. It was a fantastic warm-up, and I think if I hadn't run with him -- I may not have been able to do the whole 10. He ran in his new Bikila Vibrams, which are made specifically for running. He's loving them so far -- no injuries or sore spots to report.

Then we ran back to the house and I grabbed a quick glass of water. I took Stephen's Garmin on the second half of my run. I haven't been timing my runs much lately. Just trying to finish the mileage. But I'm happy I timed myself! I ran the second half of the run -- which was 5.11 miles -- in 41:25 (an average pace of 8:07). Most of the time that pace was steady, but I know my first mile was in 8:04 . . . and my second mile was in 7:53! Unfortunately, Stephen likes to keep his Garmin online profile "clean" -- so he deleted all my info before I had a chance to get screen shots (UGH!).

I'd describe my effort for this run as "comfortably hard."

The total distance: 10.33 miles.
Total run time: 1:25:08 -- 8:14 pace.

When I plug this into a race time predictor for my "possible" marathon finish, I get around 3:48:00. But I'm not getting cocky. Again, just finishing uninjured would be fine with me!

I guess we'll see . . .

Thanks for letting me get all that out there. The more I talk about the race, the most excited I become! Now, here are some more photos from our jaunt into Philly.

AMAZING vegan brunch at Mi Lah . . .

Also! My anniversary gift: a pair of Vibram Performas . . . in plum. Very cute work shoes :) I snagged a pair at the Philadelphia Runner (after a trip to City Sports turned up nothing).

And PS: The people who work at Philadelphia Runner RULE (at least those who work in the Center City location). They were so helpful and nice!

If you want to look at more photos from our weekend, just check out this post. Philadelphia is one of our favorite cities . . . and we can't wait to run through the whole town in November!

Have you ever been apprehensive about a big race? Excited, but still have some jitters? Tell us about it! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com. I could use all the advice and support you can give!

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