Friday, January 28, 2011

Slow Down!

Just finished week 2 training for two upcoming Half Marathons:  Jerusalem on the 24th of March and Tel Aviv on the 8th of April.  I finally had a good running week putting in a total of 52 km this week, ending with today's 17 km long run.

I have a problem though - I'm running too fast.

Ever since the Marathon, I've not been able to pace myself properly.  I have these tremendous times for my runs - and while I don't feel burned out on the shorter runs, today's long run wiped me out, AND it was just 17 km!  This is really frustrating considering all those very long runs of 24,26, 29 & 32 I put in and pretty much felt the same afterwards. 

My runs start out so well - I feel energetic, powerful and fast.  My shorter runs are averaging 6:00 or better.  When I'm just doing a 10 or 12 km run, well that's okay, but my medium long and long runs need to be done at a much slower pace.  My training plan calls for a 6:38 pace for long runs, and I'm averaging 6:10 - 6:15.  This is what cost me at the marathon.  Other than continually checking my Garmin, I don't know how to pace myself correctly.  Ahhh, so frustrating.  I want to prevent any type of overuse injury - so I've got to figure this out.

The weather here has been amazing for running.  Cold, cold, cold in the early mornings, perhaps 10 - 15c and no rain.  (sorry, that IS cold for Israel).  While we desperately need the rain, there just isn't any in sight.  Everything is green and coming into full bloom.  This abundance of greenery is not seen for very long, and I'm really trying to take in all the beauty of the season before it all turns to brown.

Next week's running plan:

11km - strides
11km - 7 x 800's
15km - med long
19 km - long

I'll try and watch the pace - but any advice out there?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Next Steps

It's been 5 days since the Marathon and I'm so itchin to run!  Tomorrow I will go out for an easy 8 km, then on Friday an easy 12 km. 

There are a couple of Half Marathons coming up, the Jerusalem HM on March 25th, and the Tel Aviv HM April 8th.  These races are my interim goals, and I'm not quite sure how hard I will train for them.  The Jerusalem course is new this year because they've added a full marathon, and the Tel Aviv race will be a first for me.

My goal is to keep running and NOT get injured.  I am much happier running than not, and I don't want to risk another lay off like I had last year.

The fabulous news post marathon is that I seem to have encouraged and motivated several more people to take up running.  My daughter in law is working on her walk/run program, my son is ready to start and two other friends have started back on running programs.  It feels wonderful to have inspired others to become healthy!  WooHoo!

Looking forward to a nice easy run tomorrow.


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Marathon Report

WooHoo!  In the bag!  I have just completed my first marathon, the 34th Tiberius Marathon - and I couldn't be prouder!  Unofficial time:  4:40:15 - of course Garmin had me in at 4:37:43 but we'll wait for the official results.

The plan was for everyone to leave for Tiveria Wednesday afternoon, and spend a relaxing afternoon and evening at the hotel.  Since I booked and arranged full board for all of us, I thought it would be a nice treat for my son and his family.  Car problems made the delay staggered, and our car arrived by 5:30 pm (my hubby, mother-in-law & granddaughter), and my son didn't arrive until 9:00 pm.  It was a 2 1/2 hour trip and I was excited the entire way.

I picked up my run kit and quickly checked out the exhibits.  I was more interested in getting to my evening meal, as I wanted as much time as possible to digest before the next day!  There was a pasta dinner,but I chose not to go to that, instead we had a meal together, in the dining room, and I was still able to carb up on rice & lentils, whole grain bread and egg noodles.  I'm NOT into all that loading.  I figure if I just eat smartly and enough, I'll be fine. 

I didn't get to bed until about 10:30 pm after I finally kicked out my kids & grandchildren who were having a ball in the hotel room!  I slept well enough, and woke at 5:40.  (Funny but that's my usual wake up time for my regular runs!)  I went to an early breakfast at 6:30 am - and because I don't usually eat before any run - I had a cup of coffee and a small bowl of granola with bran flakes.  I was so worried about having anything in my stomache to come back at me.  I've read so many race reports where that was a big complaint, so I wanted to be safe.

Funny thing happened, while sitting in the dining room with my husband and son, suddenly my husband says, "hey that looks like Neimah" (our 3 year old granddaughter).  But since that would be ridiculous, her room was on the third floor, and we were in the dining room, how could that be.  Sure enough, it was her.  Dressed only in an oversized t-shirt, crying.  It seems she came out of her room on the third floor and was waundering around.  Some man brought her down in the elevator, and deposited her in the front of the dining room to be found by her parents!  This story could really only have a happy ending here in Israel, where everyone feels a connection to each other, and really and truly treats each other like family.  I shudder to think of what might have happened.... 

Back to the race...

The Bet Shemesh Running Club!

My family suprised me by all wearing special Running Bubby t-shirts.  It was a riot!!

We lined up to race just before 9:00 am - and I wanted to run with the 4:30 pacer, but there wasn't one!  Since I could not possibly do the marathon faster, I knew I had to pace myself.  There were only 900 participants, but it was a very lively and electric atmosphere.  You could feel the energy coming off all the runners and it was hard not to be affected by the excitment!  For the past week I had so much adrenilin running through me, now finally, I could use it!

Edo and Eli paced with me for much of the first half.  Little did I know that I was their pacer!

My plan was to run a 6:15 pace for the first half, and then see if I could take a few more seconds off after the half.  Well, even though I was advised by so many people, and countless bloggers and articles NOT to go out too fast, I still made the big mistake of running my first half too fast.  For the first 18 km I was running anywhere from a 5:59 to a 6:15.  I just didn't realize how important those few extra seconds per kilometer were and how they really add up.  And, to top it off, of course I didn't feel like I was going to fast.  I kept looking at my garmin, and slowing down when I saw my pace pick up, but it really was too late.

By the half, my average pace was 6:26 - not bad and a bit off my desired pace, but the faster kilometers killed me.  However, I was okay with it.  A 2:16 half was okay.  But now, I started to worry that my second half was going to fall off because I was feeling tired.  I was taking 1/2 size gels about every 6 kilometers and I decided to walk through the water checks for the rest of the race.  By the time I hit 27 km I reached the infamous 'wall'.  Oh boy.  But I was in that place many times during my training runs, and I knew that if I dug really deep, I could weather the 3 - 4 kilometers that it usually took me to get past it.

It was very, very difficult - and by 32 km - when I had clocked in at 3:22 - a similar time to my other 32 km long runs, I knew I was in a bad place.  I called my husband on my cell phone and cried.  "I have 10 km to go and it's just too hard.  I know I can do this, but it's just so hard."  He gave me lots of encouragement and told me not to give up that I could do it.  I hung up the phone and cried for another minute.  I will not give up - I promised myself then.

At this point, my hips started to burn a little, and my legs got so heavy.  I felt like I had cement boots on, and every step was like running through mud.  Again, I walked through the water stops, and gave myself incredible encouragement to pick it up and run again.  However, by 35 km - it was time to disconnect.  I couldn't comprehend the continuing pain, but furthermore, it was becoming exhausting battling with myself.  My brain kept telling me to just stop.  Enough.  But as corny as it sounds, there arose a tiny voice inside me that kept pushing me forward.  And as each kilometer passed - the voice grew louder and with it - my determination to finish what I had started so many weeks ago. 

By the time I got to the last 5 km of the race, I knew I could finish.  Counting down from 5 is not hard to do and I counted every single quarter kilometer.  5 km to go, 4.75 km to go all the way down.  My other battle was nausea.  I think I had one too many gels and by this point, I thought I was going to upchuck it all.  (But there was nothing to throw up anyway!).  Plain and simple - pure determination got me to the end.  And I can't believe that until the very end, my brain kept telling me to stop!

I arrived at the finish line in tears.  It was such an overwhelming experience - there are almost no words.  I don't know which part I was more proud of.  Fighting the battle with my inner evil voice to quit - and winning, or over coming all the pain my legs and hips took and finishing.  It was truly a culmination of 19 weeks of training and dreaming - and I had done it!

My family was there to great me with signs of support, and my husband convinced the guards to allow him to jump the barrier to take my picture.  Because it is an International Marathon - the security was tight, and they were not allowing too many deviations from security procedures.

The first thing I wanted was a cold, cold drink and to just sit down!!!  I had a pinched muscle in one of my gluts and it took a lot to get it to let go.  I picked up my medal and made my congrats to all my other team mates who fininshed before me.  A hot bath was on the horizon and I couldn't stop dreaming about it.

After checking out of the hotel - we had a post run celebratory lunch.  All the members of the running club were there, as were many, many other runners.  I just didn't have an appetite to eat so much, and so only ate lightly.  I was incredibly thirsty, and had an enormous craving for diet coke!!  We took this family photo just before leaving.

I will say that the first words that came out of my mouth upon reaching the finish line were, "I'm never, ever doing that again."  But after a couple hours, I was already dreaming about how I'll do much better next time - and be very careful to only run at my recommended pace.  I'm not sure if I'll run another marathon between now and next year's Tiberius Marathon - but for now I will bask in the glory and spotlight of being a Marathoner.  Being a member of that exclusive group that less that 1/2% of the world's population belongs to.  I think that's pretty good for now.

Thanks for sharing,

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We're Off!

That's it.  Ready or not.  We're off to Tiveria! 

Running clothes & shoes - check
Music - check
GU's - check
Jacket for alternate weather - check

Family:  check!
  • Husband
  • Mother in Law
  • Son
  • Daughter in Law
  • Granddaughter
  • Grandson
  • Grandson
Check, and check and check.

I'm about as ready as I'll ever be.  Very confident that I will run 42.2 km tomorrow.  4:30 is my goal, and the secret one?  Well, we'll talk about that if I achieve that one too!

Wish me luck!
Running Bubby

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Oy, the marathon is but two days off and I finally understand my jittery, jumpy condition.  Nerves!!!

Weeks ago, heck last week, I felt so confident about the race - and now, the doubts and what ifs are starting to creep in... 

Shake, shake, shake...

That was close!  Yes, I know I can do this.  I need to keep visualizing myself crossing the finish line - hands up in the air - a perfect smile - and it will come true.

This carb loading stuff is interesting.  Kind of like being pregnant and having a craving for bagels and pasta....  Too bad chocolate and popcorn isn't on the menu!  Problem for me is that I just don't feel like eating this stuff right now.  I'm actually just tired - and more interested in sleeping and resting, as opposed to trying to stuff down one more pretzel or figuring out just what to serve with the rice, again...  I usually take a GU every 5 - 7 km, so hopefully with what I have eaten, and the GU's, I'll be fine in the carb department.

My last 5 km run was this morning - and it was somewhat dragging.  It's hard for me to slow down as it just makes me feel less energetic about the entire run.  However, thanks God, I did avoid all the pot holes, gravel, rocks and uneven sidewalks. I can tell that I've got a lot in reserves because of this taper, and can't wait to channel it during the marathon.

Tonight I'm also going for a pre marathon massage.  Not TOO intense, just the kinks.  (Albeit, an hour and half kink workout!)

Everyone is psyched.  My husband is about as excited as I am - and so supportive!  I bought him a GPS two weeks ago, and he is eager to use it to map our route up to Tiberius, and I bought him another gift for being such a sport.  I won't mention it yet - as I want to surprise him.

Randy - this marathon goes out to you for your tremendous support and encouragement the entire way, and for believing in me when I was doubtful!

More later.