Friday, October 29, 2010


Today I ran 32 km. This is the longest. I. have. ever. run. period.

I ran for 3:32:52 - and I did it on my own.

My neighbour, who is also a runner, and has many marathons under his belt, told me I was crazy. Over and over, he kept saying I was meshuga, crazy. And while I did want to ask him some questions, as I jokingly refer to him as my "coach", I was first more concerned that I did something wrong.

I know I had more problems on this run than last weeks 29 km. This time, while the day was nice and overcast, it wasn't really all that hot or humid. (Okay - when you start your run at 4:30 am - it's not too sunny or hot either!) But I think I drank too much water. By about 20 km my legs started to feel very, very heavy. My stomach uncomfortably full. I had to loosen my running belt and slip it down onto my hips. I cut back on the water, as I read something once that said you can drink too much, and pushed through. Eventually by 30 km I had to slip into a 4 min run 1 min walk pattern for the balance of the run. That didn't disappoint me at all. I was darn happy to just finish the run.

My pissy negative side started to threaten NOT to run the marathon, (even though I signed up and paid last night online), but I quickly realized that an hour later I would forget all this and be focused on the next run.

So I wondered what my neighbour was talking about. His concern was more that I do these runs by myself. I countered that I can't find a single person willing to change up their own pace to run with me. I do not want to run faster than a 6:00 pace (which makes sense NOT to burn out on a LSR), and am happy to run slower sometimes for others, but I just can't find that magical partner who will slow down / speed up when needed. He told me that having a friend jump in at various points along the run will help keep me focused and mentally allow me to break the runs into sections that are easier to manage.

I again answered that I already do this - as I imagine most dedicated lone runners do. I break the run into various points, and as I pass them, I make a mental tick and move onto the next goal. It's true that it is often times enjoyable to run with a partner, sometimes though, I do like to be alone with my thoughts and struggles and work it out myself.

Another reason he thought I was crazy...? We are having my grandson's brit (circumcision ceremony) in my home tomorrow, and about 180 guests for a kiddush afterwards. Okay, I'll give him that. Maybe.

Anyway, my first major long run done. Only 3 like that over the next 10 weeks. Piece of cake?

Monday, October 25, 2010


Today was speed work, intervals - the type of training that makes me anxious to start and begging for it to end.

3 x 1600 at 5:38
2 x 800 recovery

for a total of 11 km - wew!

In all my years of running, I've never bothered with speed work. It either seemed too difficult to figure out the pacing or after trying it a time or two, seemed just too darn hard. Now, I am a convert!

In training for this marathon, I decided to be very strict in following all my prescribed runs. Whether they be long runs, recovery, easy and yes, speed work. I've decided to bite the bullet and work through my fear of speed!

I do these runs on my treadmill and while I'm really, really bored on the thing, I've got to admit that controlling the speed is a great option. (Although I'm not so sure my husband likes to watch the sweat fly off my body and splatter anything in a 3 foot radius, and the look on his face while I blurt out an encouragement to myself or a song lyric, tells me he's not sure about the entire thing.) The bottom line; my times have really improved, and I feel more energetic on my faster paced runs.

And don't ya just feel great the rest of the day!

On family news, we have a new grandson born this past friday night. He will be getting his name this upcoming Shabbat - and we're all very excited!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Labour of Love

Today I started my day at 4:00 am to get my long run in before the day really heated up. I was out the door at 4:36 am. Let me tell you about the streets of Ramat Bet Shemesh at this hour. Cats, cats, and more cats. It's like a sub-world of creatures that only come out when the human population is at rest. Seriously, so many cats I could count one every 20 steps! Now, I realize Israel has a "cat problem" on par with the "rat problem" in the rest of the world, and yes, we see a lot of cats around the neighbourhood in the daylight hours, but this night time business is weird. Cats and vampires truly rule the night!
I think I have been hitting that mysterious "wall" often talked about in blogs, and articles on marathon running. And fortunate for me, I've been able to push through it and finish my runs. For me the "wall" seems to be happening around 20 km. Today's run was 29 km, (which I rocked out at 3:08:25!) and again at 20 km I had to play the mental game and argue all the reasons I shouldn't stop, and push through to finish. It's amazing that once you win the argument, the rest of the run goes okay. Once I made the decision to finish, the stress of the run seemed to be behind me, and I was able to focus on the end. Kind of like labour.... Once you get past the really difficult part, you sort of forget the rest.
Speaking of labour...
In the middle of my run, my son called to tell me that grandchild number 5 (his third) was on the way. All week I have been requesting that my daughter in law NOT go into labour until my long run was finished, so he called to tell me that I got my wish. This baby's sex will be a surprise as they didn't find out before hand. Either way, very exciting!
What types of arguments do you make when you hit your wall?

Friday, October 15, 2010


Wew! Made it to the end of a very hot week here in Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel, and this was the temperature posted at 7:00 am when I returned from my run.

The funny thing about this week was that despite the heat, I had my fastest times since returning from my stress fracture. This week's training called for 4 x 11 km easy runs. My times were:

Saturday - 1:06:49 - pace 6:04

Monday - 1:11:04 pace 6:27

Wednesday - 1:06:48 - pace 6:04

Friday - 1:04:02 - pace 5:49

As well, I've been running a low-grade fever all week (thanks to the grand kiddies!), which seemed to drive me to run better (?!) Is that possible?

Probably the most significant part of this improvement in speed has to do with the training. I am following a Runner's World program, and this week called for a slight reduction in mileage, which I think has given me a chance to recover and prepare for the next stage - which is big miles again - yikes!

My heart goes out to Beth from SUAR who will not be able to run the Denver Rock n' Roll Marathon due to a stress fracture. Here's a woman that trains hard, but smart - and I guess sometimes no matter how well we prepare - it's just not the right time. I love her blog and despite the poop talk, she's a real inspiration and motivation.
Get well soon Beth!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

X - Training

Today is a rest day or cross training day.

When I ran my first Half Marathon this past March, I didn't do any cross training, just rested on the off days. I had a pretty good race time, 2:15 - but I wonder if I could have been a little stronger.

While working through my injury earlier this year, I alternated swimming with spinning. Neither gave me that runner's high I get from running - but seemed an okay workout. However, now that I see how much my hamstrings and quads need to rest, I'm wondering if I should just swim and omit the spinning.... Aerobically, swimming is much more effective for me - and it would give my legs the rest I need.

Maybe I'll swim tonight and see how that goes.

What's your favorite x-training activity?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Catching Up

Okay, okay. So it's been a while. That doesn't mean that I have not been running. On the contrary... Today I completed week 6 of my 19 week program for the Tiberius Marathon in January 2011.

Scheduled run: 26 km in 2:56:04 an average pace of 6:46.

This is actually the longest run I have ever done- and you know what, it was so amazing! All the elements came together -overcast instead of full sun, lots of gatorade on my water breaks, and my stomache flu has passed!

I was worried on my last long run that I wasn't going to be cut out for this Marathon business. The weather has been horrendous the past two weeks ( 31c - 36c and full sun), which made it pretty impossible to run any time after 7:30 am - which means to get in a good long run you need to start at 5:00 am! Staying hydrated in this type of weather is very difficult, and I think dehydration has been holding me back.

Under these conditions, you play that mental game of "Yes, I can" - "No, I can't" - and while I have been the victor in this mental game, it can still be draining. As well, I was worried that this heavy training is only hard for me - and I felt so disappointed until I scanned all the blogs for newbies and not so newbies and found that everyone struggles with this training. It is hard. It's supposed to be hard - and that's part of the satisfaction we feel when we tuck one more training run, or a long run under our belts.

So next week my program calls for a bit of a drop in milage to 44 km (this week was 58 km) - which translates into 4 easy runs of 11 km each, and no speed work. After that, we go back to 60+ km per week. I can see that I need a bit of a break.

Looking forward to a restful day off!