It’s almost time to race! But before we get to goals, here’s how the rest of yesterday went down:
After two flights and a one-hour layover in Charlotte, I arrived in Nashville with Dustin. My dad and step-mom were waiting for us at security.
He’s so cute, isn’t he? Like father like daughter
Oh, and that picture isn’t staged. Dustin whipped his phone out to take a picture because he knew I’d like it for the blog. Also, I’m as white as a ghost.
We immediately went over to the expo so I could pick up my bib and check out the other goodies floating around. I nabbed some nuun samples (hydrate!) and munched on the other goodies floating around.
I also became a sucker for marketing and signed up for the Disney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon. I’ve been contemplating it for a few weeks, but once I saw that processing fees were eliminated, I hopped on board. Dustin nodded approval, the race is eight days before my birthday, the price goes up in a few weeks and today was payday, so there really was no chance in hell I was going to say no. I guess I’ll be experiencing my first night race (start time is 10p.m.) this fall!
And then the next most important thing happened: food. I’m taking my pre-race carb loading serious this time around. First, I wolfed down a monstrous Brooklyn bagel with triple berry cream cheese (hey, there’s fresh fruit in there!) at the airport. I wish I could say I only ate half, but then I’d be lying. In fact, I ate all of mine and a little bit of Dustin’s, too. I blame it on the fact that I usually eat breakfast once I wake up and today I had to wait a good hour and 45 minutes before inhaling any carbs. No bueno.
Dad took us to Applebee’s for lunch, which I have quite the soft spot for. I shared boneless buffalo wings with Dustin (my fave) and the fiesta lime chicken dish with a blue moon on the side. Luckily, I have a pretty strong stomach so I don’t have to be too careful about what I eat the day before the race.
We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel. I made sure not to walk around too much so that I have rested legs and my foot is ready to go. I iced my foot before bed and slipped on the oh-so-sexy hot pink compression socks so they could work their magic while I got my beauty sleep.
Dinner was originally scheduled to take place at Maggiano’s because I requested an Italian feast, but there was an hour and a half wait. It was getting close to my bed time, so we quickly left. All of the local spots we wanted to try had the same problem, so we ended up at the Olive Garden. I had one breadstick, a small portion of salad and three-quarters of my monstrous plate of ravioli with marinara sauce. ‘Twas delicious.
My race outfit is chosen (I brought three options) and was laid out last night as if already on my body. My Garmin and iPod are charged and my full-blown country playlist is ready to rock.
So how do I plan on tackling this race? Here are my goals:
A.) Run a sub-2. If that clock reads 1:59.59, I’ll be a happy girl.
B.) Run at least a 2:07. It’s my current PR and I’d like to not run slower than that, if at all possible.
C.) Finish. I’m not underestimating the heat and hills, and I know I’m not running this in my peak physical condition. A lot could go wrong, but good God I need to at least cross the finish line, regardless of time.
This is how I plan on accomplishing at least one of these (or all three!) goals:
- Hydrating and taking in salt. Usually my salt levels aren’t a concern, but I’ve also never raced long distance in the heat. Dustin will have salt packets and a water bottle with him in case I need some in between water stations. I was going to carry a fuel belt with me, but mine has mysteriously disappeared. I tore apart my bedroom last night but still can’t find it. I’m comfortable going water station to water station because that’s what I’ve always done, but Dustin will have extra stuff on hand, just in case. Anyone running in the heat tomorrow, remember, if you’re running but not sweating, that means your body is overheating. Get some salt and water in you, stat.
- Not psyching myself out on the hills. Every single time I told someone which race I was trying to sub-2 on, their eyes opened wide and they said some variation of, “Oh, wow. Um, I’ve heard it has a lot of hills.” Yes, I’m aware of that. And it will probably suck. But when I brought it up to Abby, she said, “Screw the hills. You’ve been training in Central Park. And you know what? If it goes uphill, it has a downhill. Focus your energy on powering up the hill, then cruise the downhill.” I agree with all of those things. You so smart, coach!
- Pacing myself. This means not going out too fast, which I am notorious for. I get so excited and caught up in the crowds. I see a great split for the first mile and I think, “Woohoo, I’m a rock star!” Yeah, OK, Sam. Things are fantastic and then….I poop out. Womp womp. But not this time! My plan is to find the 2:10 pace group and stick with them for the first mile or so, then push ahead when I’m comfortable and not so high on life.
- Running hard. I’m breaking the race into 5Ks: first 5K, stick to a comfortable pace around 9:05-9:10. Second 5K: Hover around 9:00-minute miles. Third 5K: Pick it up so I’m feeling uncomfortable the entire time, aiming for 8:45-8:50 paces. Fourth 5K: Maintain that uncomfortable pace, but push harder. I probably won’t see a time increase, but I need to push harder to stay at the same pace. Last mile: BALLS TO THE WALL. Sprint as hard as I can, leaving it all out on the pavement, feeling like I want to give up, vomit or die. Doesn’t that sound pleasant?
- Remembering why I’m running. This race is going to be tough for me. I know it is. I’ve never pushed myself to truly race before and I need to mentally stay in the game and be OK with being uncomfortable. Too often I don’t give myself enough credit and think I can’t maintain a faster pace because it feels uncomfortable. Remember, Samantha, it’s not supposed to feel comfortable. Running is easier than racing. I can do this. And when I really think I can’t, I’m going to remember exactly why I’m running this. It’s personal and all sorts of secret for now, but I’m sure I’ll go over it in the recap.
And there ya have it, friends. Yes, I have an injury and am not in the best shape to tackle this race. But I’m ready to push harder than I ever have before. If I come out with a sub-2 PR attached to my name, I’ll be stoked. But honestly, the best part of this race is that my family is there. My dad has never seen me run and I know I’m going to tear up seeing him cheering for me on the sidelines. No matter what the outcome, I’m going to enjoy this weekend.
Who else is racing in Nashville? Rodney Atkins and Gloriana are rockin’ the stage post-race and you know I’ll be there. Good luck and get your country on!
Helloooo, from Nashville!
But wait, Sam…you live in New York City….what the heck are you doing in Nashville?!
Obviously, it’s been a while since I’ve updated. I know. I’m not even going to bother giving excuses anymore. Let’s just say I’ve been living life outside, rather than behind a computer screen. After all, if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have any good stories to tell. And we don’t want things to get boring around here, do we? (BECAUSE IT’S NOT BORING ALREADY!)
Anyway, I’m in Nashville for the weekend to get my race on. Way back when (nearly a year ago…holy crap), I signed up for the Country Music Marathon on April 28, 2012. You read that right – the Country Music MARATHON. As in 26.2 miles, not 13.1. I was super excited as I bought my ticket and watched the money in my bank account disappear. Nothing was more exciting to me than the thought of spending 4+ hours (because you know I’m not going sub-4 on my first mary) pounding the pavement in the hot Nashville sun with my dad and Dustin on the sidelines.
Of course, I didn’t really think things through. Nashville has hills? Psshh. It might be 80 or 90 degrees on race day? Whatevs. I just wanted to ruuuuuun!
Clearly, I’m a bit naïve.
So after a few more races, including a half-marathon, and a wee bit of hip pain, I was ready to start training. Six to seven months of long runs, building up 20 miles until the welcoming relief of taper town (no, I don’t go crazy during taper. I’m totally one of those runners who loves it). I hired coach Abby to guide me through, which ended up being the best decision I made through this entire journey. She coached me well; every run now had a purpose and strength training was reintroduced into my life. We were focusing on getting me strong so that my body would be ready for all the sweat-filled pounding that was about to go down.
But then my knee started to hurt.
Oh yes, we can’t forget that now, can we? The awful long runs, the tears and the total breakdown in the middle of Central Park. If you’ve forgotten, let me remind you. I sure as hell will remember it for a long time. Tendinitis is fun!
After a lot of careful contemplation and discussion with coach Abby (read: me sitting in Starbucks across from Abby bawling my eyes out while she tries to calm the crazy person down so people will stop staring), we decided it was best if I drop down to the half-marathon. If you want to know all of the reasons why, check out this post and try to understand my brain a little. It’s complicated, I know.
Just because I was moving to 13.1 doesn’t mean I couldn’t go after another goal of mine, though: sub-2. I’ve been thinking about it for a while and truly believe I’m capable of it. First step: physical therapy. So I packed up my bags (OK, I’m exaggerating) and paid a visit to Ken at Recovery Physical Therapy.
I can’t say this enough: Ken is a great physical therapist. He doesn’t run himself, but he gets me as a runner. He doesn’t make me do things I don’t want to do, like give up running, and he worked with Abby to stick as close to my new training plan as possible while still building the strength back up in my knee. But more details on that in another post.
I spent my mornings therapy-ing and my evenings running (not on the same days), with some strength and cross-training in the mix. Oh, and a lot of icing, foam rolling, compressing and stretching. A few weeks later though, a dull pain popped up in my foot. Nothing too crazy at first, but noticeable enough. I told Ken and we started modifying exercises and ultrasound-ing the crap out of my foot tendons.
But it didn’t get better. It got worse. Figures.
A few days and a diagnosis of tendinosis due to overuse later (that’s early stages of tendinitis, in case you were wondering) and my mileage was reduced to help heal. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the tendinosis developed right around the time taper period hit. I choose to view it as a blessing because I could drop down on the miles I was logging without seriously compromising my training. More icing, ultrasound and electric stimulation began and soon enough it was time to cruise until race day.
Phew, I think you’re caught up now. I’ll be back tonight or tomorrow with my goals for race day and how I actually feel about these hills now that I’m staring at them up close and personal.
Now you tell me: Have you been dealing with an injury? Tell me your secrets to recovery! And are you racing this weekend? We have a good number of awesome NYC bloggers tackling the country music half on Saturday, so no matter what, it’s going to be a great time!
Hi everyone! For those of you who actually came back yesterday looking for another update, I thank you. And I apologize. I got distracted by the train wreck that was The Bachelor finale…and the subsequent After the Final Rose episode. Meaning, I wasted three hours in front of the TV, but it was a great reminder that my life isn’t nearly as crazy as it could be.
See, that show serves a purpose, Mom!
And for all you other Bachelor lovers who also love HIMYM, here’s a beautiful thing found via Pinterest (where else would I find it?)
Second, I want to thank all of you who left comments and sent words of encouragement after my last post. It really, truly means a lot to me.
Now, let’s pick things up where we left off on Sunday.
I headed to Central Park for a long run after taking many days off. And when I say days off, I mean complete rest. Only walking to and from work. The rest of the time, I was simply stretching, icing, compressing and taking naproxen. I thought I was going batty from a lack of sweat.
It takes about 20-30 minutes to get to CP from my apartment on the weekend, and as I rode the train, I thought a lot about this run. No matter how much I tried to envision myself cranking out 15 miles with ease, I just couldn’t do it. For some reason, I knew that it just wasn’t going to happen. Chalk it up to a big dose of reality setting in? I have no idea. But, as cheesy as it sounds, I knew I had to try. Otherwise I’d drive myself bonkers wondering if I would’ve been able to do it.
Once again, the first few miles were fine. I went at an easy pace, and strapped my watch on so that it was difficult to check my pace. I just wanted to run. Shortly after two miles, I realized I had made a rookie mistake: I overdressed. I knew it was going to be shorts and a tank weather, or shorts and a long-sleeved shirt at the most, but I let Dustin psych me out when he went out for bagels in the morning and said it was pretty chilly. Nervous about being too cold, I put on crops and a long-sleeved shirt. After two miles, the sleeves were rolled and I was cursing Dustin justalittlebit (NOTE: Do not listen to your non-runner boyfriend when he tells you about the weather. His views are very different from yours).
I pushed on, moving with the rolling hills and thinking about Nashville again. And then out of nowhere, my knee gave out. No slow, building pain that comes and goes like normal, it just plain gave out. I looked at my watch, saw seven miles and decided to stop. I walked for a bit and the pain only came back a little, but I still decided to stop. Call me crazy, but I made the conscious decision to have a good day.
And I’m so proud of myself for that moment.
I realized something. I’m so tired of having crappy weekends because of all the bad long runs I’ve been having. It’s one thing to have a bad run here or there. But to have one on every single weekend for at least a month? That’s not right. Heck, it’s probably a sign from the running gods trying to tell me that this is not my race. So finally, my stubborn head decided to listen. I was (am?) ready to agree: this is not my race to conquer 26.2.
As much as I want it to be, it just isn’t. Like I said in part I, I don’t want to finish my first marathon limping, in pain and hating every single moment. I want to conquer each and every one of those miles, feeling strong, confident, powerful. I want to feel like I’m a badass, not like I got my ass kicked fifteen times over.
But most of all, I don’t want my first 26.2 to be my last. I’m only 22 and I just started running a little over a year ago. I have a lot of miles left in me. Sure, I have a torn meniscus, a reconstructed ACL and a blood disorder that slightly complicates things, but who doesn’t have problems? Everyone has hurdles to jump over; these are mine. There’s no reason to add another one.
If I ran the full 26.2, I’m scared that I would end my running career prematurely.I remember what it’s like to not be able to run for over three months. It’s NOT FUN. It’s mentally demoralizing and if I can avoid it, I’m sure as hell going to do everything in my power to do so. I suppose I’ll finally start believing what others have been telling me: there are other marathons waiting for me.
So am I done with Nashville? Not quite. My family is still there, my dad still hasn’t seen me race, and I’ve already coughed up the money, so I’m still headin’ South come April 27. I’m just going to run the half-marathon. My new plan is still in development, but in general, I’m going to throw myself into physical therapy, focus on strength training and speed work, and aim to PR the sh*t out of that half.
My plans for this weekend’s St. Paddy’s Day National Half? Come back tomorrow!
I realize I’m late with last week’s Workout Windup, but I’m going to fill y’all in anyway. My week was great, especially in workout land, I just got sucked into everything else going on that it slipped my mind! So let’s make up for time lost by cutting right to the chase, alright?
What I had on the schedule, and what ended up going down:
- Rest on Monday
- Run 6 miles on Tuesday at 7 or 8 p.m.
Yoga DVD on WednesdayRest
- Run 4 miles on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., added lunchtime yoga session to make up for Wednesday
- Rest on Friday
- Run 12 miles Saturday morning, dance the night away at Cayla’s wedding
Yoga DVD on Sundayor Rest
I realize that looks like a lot of rest, but I still felt every workout! And I met every goal, so I can’t be upset. I was very excited about my 12-mile run: despite cold temperatures, falling snow, tons of hills and some bowel issues, I pushed through and finished in just under two hours. I call that a success.
Here’s what I have lined up for this week (or at least what’s left of it…so far I’m right on track!)
- Meet with Coach Abby for light work/evaluation (details to come!) on Monday
- SoulCycle on Tuesday at 7 a.m., strength train at 6:30 p.m.
- 4-mile tempo run on Wednesday at 6:30 a.m., hot power yoga at 6 p.m.
- Rest Thursday
- Run 1 mile, maintenance & upper body exercises on Friday at 6 p.m.
- Run 14 miles on Saturday
- Run 3 miles on Sunday
I’m feeling nice and sore this evening from this week’s workouts and am fully embracing tomorrow’s rest day. I need to gear up for Saturday’s long run…and catch up on shameless TV
What sweat sessions do you have lined up the rest of the week?
Happy Friday! Does anyone else feel like it’s been a really long week? I have some glorious plans this weekend, so maybe that’s why time seemed to tick by slowly for me. The anticipation kills me!
I’m in such a chipper mood today, so I thought it was the perfect time to bring back Feel-Good Friday. After all, who couldn’t use a little extra pick-me-up to soar into the weekend?
Here are some of the wonderful things that have been making me feel great this weekend:
I get to train for a marathon. Remember back when I made my goals for the year and I was all sorts of nervous about not being able to run the Country Music Marathon in April even though I really, really want to? Well, after six doctor appointments, countless hours of lost sleep and many worried thoughts, I officially found out that I am in the clear! At the end of it all, I was diagnosed with an acute case of tendinitis in the outside of my knee, along with a little bit of built-up scar tissue. Neither of those things will derail my plans and the doc gave me the green light to move into full-blown training mode. Nashville, here I come!
Pandora’s country music stations. I don’t know about the rest of you Pandora users, but the site has been killing it for me. I put one of my many country stations and plow through my to-do list like it’s nobody’s business. As a big Carrie, Rascal and Keith fan (that’s Underwood, Flatts and Urban last names for you who aren’t familiar), I’ve been extremely pleased by those nifty selections.
Country weddings. With all this country talk going on, it’s time to talk about my weekend. As you read this, I’m packing up my bags and headed upstate to celebrate the fabulous union of Dustin’s friend, Cayla, and her fiance, Josh. Dustin and Cayla have known each other since they were little and we’re so excited to be a part of her special day. I plan to run 12 miles in the morning (gotta get ‘em in) and then dance the night away basking under the beauty of love <3
Colored jeans. I’ve been lusting after a pair of red ones for quite some time now, but still haven’t found the ones. You know, the jeans that fit both your waist and your wallet. Never fear, though, because I was lucky enough to nab a deliciously bright pair of orange jeans that I’m 100 percent in love with, along with a new bracelet and necklace. Only 35 bucks in NYC? I’ll take it.
Veggie and nut-filled salads. No dirty jokes here, I know how you guys work I don’t know what it is, but there’s something special about a salad filled with veggies. I had a serious craving for the produce when lunch time rolled around today and the salad bar at work does a great job of satisfying that urge. Super fresh, super tasty. Oh, and I love cashews. I don’t really care about almonds or walnuts in my salad, but dang, I love the cashews. If that’s wrong, then I just don’t want to be right.
When I had just about a bite left, I thought, “Aw man, I should have taken a picture for the blog!” So I did it anyway. Just trust me; it was delicious.
And that’s all she wrote! Now it’s your turn:
What’s made you feel good this week? And what are you up to this weekend? Favorite song I should request at the wedding?
Back in June, I stared at my computer screen, took a deep breath and quickly clicked before it really registered what I was doing. Yep, I gave away my money to put myself through the pain and joy of running my first marathon.
Ever since that fateful day, April 28, 2012 has danced a little jig in the back of my mind (are you picturing that in your head? I am). Every time a workout gets tough, I tell myself to suck it up because it’s going to be a lot more difficult down the road. Every time I feel a twinge in my knee, I launch into panic-mode because I cannot get injured before the marathon. After all, who wants to spend all that money and get all hyped up, only to not be able to run because of a reckless injury? Not. Me.
Along with these thoughts comes the concept of a running coach. Someone to give me scheduled workouts, push me when I need it, and tell me when to rein it in. Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just too damn difficult to listen to what your body is telling you. Sometimes you just need a real, live person telling you to chill out and get a little extra sleep because it will, in fact, help you on race day.
With the New York City Marathon coming up in just a few short days, and everyone talking about the famous race, my own marathon hasn’t been far from my mind. My training officially begins the day after Christmas (greeeeeat) and for the past few weeks I’ve been contemplating getting a running coach. Theodora recommended hers and if any of you read Ali’s blog, then you know Jon Cane is phenomenal.
Today I stumbled upon this gem from the good ole’ New York Times, detailing the pros and cons of a running coach, from the perspective of the author. I think it does a great job of showing both perspectives and it’s really made me start thinking more about getting one. Although I wish I could, I can’t justify shelling out the money to pay for Coach Cane’s expertise because well, I just don’t have that kind of extra money floating around. But I can possibly afford Theodora’s coach, or a few others that I’m considering.
When I really think about whether or not I should get one, I lean toward yes because I’m terrified of injuring myself. I’ve already gone through ACL and meniscus surgery once and that simply isn’t fun. I don’t want to do it again. And I’ve had this lingering hip pain for the last few weeks that makes me nervous. So if I had a coach, I’d like to think he or she would be able to give me advice about whether or not I’m being a wimp, and how to proceed. I also think I’d like a coach because well, I’m type-A and I really like having a schedule. If I have one that an expert made for me (eliminating the possibility of self-doubt in the development of say, my own plan), then I’m much more likely to stick with it because there’s no way I could report to that person without completing all that is required of me.
But on the other hand, there are a ton of resources available online and in books now. Are those good enough? What if I use Hal Higdon’s Novice training plan — is that personal enough? Will it get me to the finish line injury-free and in the best shape I can be to run my first 26.2? These are only a few of the questions bouncing around up there.
So now I’m asking you – read the NYT article, then jump back to the comments section and let me know what you think. Please weigh in! Would you get a running coach? Why or why not? Have you gotten a coach? Do you think it was a wise decision? Worth the money? What should I look for in a coach (other than expertise/education)?
And if you’re in NYC and have used a coach that you like, please tell me who and where I can find their info!
Today is filled with holidays! Well, really it’s only filled with two that are important to me, but that’s a lot for one day. If you couldn’t tell, one of those holidays is National Running Day!
National Running Day is intended for runners to “share their passion for a lifestyle that is one of the best, and simplest, ways to stay fit…head out solo to clear your mind, gab with your regular running buddies or turn an unsuspecting friend into a running friend.”
So what have I done to celebrate the holiday?
First, I laced up my sneaks and headed out for some “me time.” It was downpouring all morning, so I carefully watched and hoped for a break between the thunder and lightning. I don’t know about you, but running in lightning when surrounded by trees doesn’t sound like the greatest idea to me.
Wish granted! About ten minutes after I posted this tweet, the rain stopped and the sun started shining. Already in my running gear, I leaped out the door with the goal of completing two miles as fast as I could. Nothing like a good rainstorm to force you into some speed work, right?
The weather held out for nearly the entire run and I love the way it smells right after a rainstorm, so I was a happy camper. It poured the last two tenths of the second mile, but I’m not one to complain. My bright orange shirt let cars see me and well, bright shirts just put me in a good mood.
That shirt is from this year’s beach volleyball tournament at my school. The fitness centers put it on every year, and I worked for the fitness centers as a manager and personal trainer for three years, so I’m pretty proud of that baby. Sorry, none of you can buy one though. Tourney participants only!
After, I did something crazy.
I blame it on the runner’s high. Or this holiday. I don’t really know.
I’ve been toying with the idea of running a marathon for a while now, but was too scared to commit. Then I saw Kelly from Beneath It All blogging about her experience with this race, and I started thinking more seriously about running that distance. I love Nashville and my dad lives in Tennessee. I don’t see my dad very often and he doesn’t get to experience a lot of my big accomplishments. So why not bring this one to him?!
Then I found out that every race for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series was having a discount today only in honor of National Running Day. I just couldn’t say no; I took the plunge and registered. I’m headed to Nashville on April 28, 2012!
But Samantha, you said today had two holidays!
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget. Not only is it National Running Day, but it’s also my momma’s birthday!
My mom is one of the strongest women I know and she’s taught me a lot about running. No, she’s not a runner herself, so she hasn’t taught me about form, pace or anything like that, but she has taught me some key life lessons that I apply to running on a daily basis.
You gotta dig deep for what you really want. Running is an individual sport and it’s hard. You can’t rely on anyone but yourself. My mom has always been there to support me. Not in a flamboyant, ring-a-bunch-of-bells-and-dress-like-a-crazy-woman way, but in a quiet, trusting manner. And that works for me because it’s taught me to be confident in my own abilities rather than to rely on others.
Make a real goal. Not one about a certain day, a certain size, or a certain someone. If you fixate running on superficial things, you’re never going to be happy with yourself.
Be consistent. If people can’t rely on you, nobody’s going to want you around. Same goes for running. If you keep flaking out, you’re going to have to start at square one every time.
It’s all in your head. There have been many times when I’ve doubted myself and the work I’ve put into something. But anyone will tell you that I pour my heart and soul into everything I choose to take on in my life. My mom has taught me to let go of the mental clutter and fight through to my fullest potential. I’ve learned to do that with running now. When I want to give up, I push just a little harder and usually end up stronger on the other end.
It gets harder before it gets easier. I feel like life is like this all the time. The crappy stuff is always super hard and you have to sift through it before you get to the good stuff. I have to put in my long, early training runs before I reach that glorious finish line on race day.
Momma also has good taste. For her special birthday dinner we had salmon with a honey dijon mustard glaze, seasoned potatoes and roasted asparagus.
It was so, so good! I didn’t have large portion sizes though because I needed to save room for this puppy…
We have a garden in our backyard so the rhubarb came straight from there, and we picked up some fresh strawberries too. Delicious!
So, what have you done to celebrate National Running Day? To me, running is about focusing on yourself and forgetting about life’s problems, even if only for a little bit. Sometimes life is just about putting one foot in front of the other.
Happy Birthday to all the other June 1 babies out there!