On waiting until the last minute and TAPER MADNESS

A word of advice: Don’t wait until the last minute to try and find a hotel room when traveling far away for a marathon. Yep. That’s right. We screwed up. Time and time again I looked at the websites. And time and time again I got distracted and busy. Until yesterday. Yesterday I got serious. Three days before we are supposed to be there is not the time to be looking. Every other time we’ve looked for hotels in the area, it’s not been a problem. Well, this time, every single hotel was booked for the weekend. 

Not only is it Marathon weekend in a small town, but it’s also Labor Day weekend, and Blues Fest (an annual festival). I was pretty sure we were screwed. First, we found a room in Munising, 1 hour and 10 minutes from the starting line of the race. And with a 7:30 a.m. start time, that didn’t sound terribly appealing. Luckily, my family members know people, and we now have a lovely apartment to rent for two nights that is located right by the finish line in Marquette. Whew. Big sigh of relief there.

There are less than three days left until race time (if you go by the countdown clock on their webpage it’s 2 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes at the time I am writing this). Needless to say, the minor freaking out has begun. Many different publications have written about “taper madness.” And I am here to confirm that it is a thing. All of the what if’s have started to creep in. 

What if I didn’t train hard enough? What if I haven’t been running enough lately? What if I don’t make my goal? What if I have to walk? What if…What if…What if….

The What if’s are so useless. There are so many aspects that are out of my control, and so many that are past my control. At this point, I am trying not to let the what if’s win. I am trying to tell them to shush. 

My run tonight helped a little. It was the not-a-track-workout-without-speed-work. We were supposed to be on the track. But lo and behold there was a football team out there when we got there. So off to Windmill Island we went. I ran a really good 5 miles at a pretty good clip. Honestly, I felt like I could fly (and was flying). 

The feeling of running, of going, of doing calms those silly doubts and fears. If only I can keep them away until Saturday!

Until later, run on, my friends.

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One week! And my why.

For those of you who haven’t been following, we are one week away from our trip to Marquette! Which means one week away from the Marquette Marathon Expo, and 8 days from marathon time! YIKES! I’ve had a lot of trouble getting runs in lately, struggling between two jobs and holding down the fort (aka the Land household). I am not a early riser any longer, which is something I feel I need to work on. But anyway, that’s down the road, for now. Taper time has been fun, relaxing, and full of shorter, easier runs. Tomorrow I will run my final longer run before the marathon itself, a distance of only 8 miles. Only! If you told me I’d be saying that two years go, I’d have called you nuts.

But there are so many reasons why I keep doing this. Why I focus so hard on what I am doing and where I am going (and try not to focus on the past, or where I’ve been, except to look forward).

This comes from an e-mail I sent to my running group this past week:

As we start to get into much higher mileage this week and in the coming weeks, I always like to ask myself why? Why the heck am I doing this? Why do I get up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday, crawl out of my comfy bed, and go run obscene mileage when it is always easier just to stay in bed and ignore that alarm? Getting up on Saturday, usually before everyone else in the world is awake can be difficult. So over the past couple of years of doing this, I have had to come up with a why.
 
And here it is:
I do this for fun. I do get a certain type of joy out of completing a long run, running a new distance, or completing miles that most people (my husband and the rest of my family included) consider crazy. I run because I love the feeling of flying, and of using my body, my muscles, to accomplish something. And it’s not just a physical accomplishment, either. It’s mental as well. I do it for the sense of achievement I get from doing something that many would never consider doing. I do it for health, and for fitness, and to some extent, vanity. I run because I love good food, and because I don’t like feeling like a Sloth, a Slug, or a Blerch (See also: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running). I run because I need to, because I want to, and because I can. I would go crazy without running.
 
But most of all, I am out there running for all of you, and because of you. I don’t know if you all realize just how motivating you all are to me and to others around you. And for that, I thank you. I definitely would not be as committed to these miles without you.
 
I encourage you to think about it this week and in the coming weeks. What is your why? What possesses you to want to get out there and run? You never know. Thinking about and discussing your reasons may just help you to push a little farther, a little faster, or complete more of your schedule during the week (I know that I, and some others sometimes struggle to get non-group runs in on weekdays).
 
So, those of you who read this, and who run, What is your why?
 
Happy Running. 
 

Hills and hills and hills…

So, I am finally actually signed up for the Marquette Marathon, which is good, since it’s only about 23 days away now. I did my 20 miler on Saturday, and it went as well as running 20 miles can go, though I felt stronger on my 18 the week before. But then I had a complete rest day before that, and not before this past Saturday. 

Yesterday was a hill workout. It’s not like it was something I’ve never done before, but for some reason, this one was much more difficult than normal. My legs felt like lead, I was pretty much just dragging myself up the hill over and over. It was probably a conglomeration of things: working long days, running 20 miles on Saturday, etc. etc. I did it though, finished all 10 repeats (barely, and at a sluggish pace). 

Running hills is kind of representative of a training cycle, there are ups and downs, and sometimes it’s easier and other times it’s a battle. And while I am sure that I’m not the first to equate those two things, it’s just so currently apt for me. 

In any case, here are a few pictures form this week’s Hills:

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In other news, you know that shirt that I’m pretty well known for? Yeah, you know the one:

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I have run every major race but one in this shirt, and every race I have gotten compliment upon compliment on my shirt. This shirt is made by an awesome company (here in the USA!) called InkNBurn, and I have been selected to be an ambassador for them. I’m incredibly excited to be a part of such an awesome team and represent such awesome products. I am also looking forward to expanding my collection. I might be a running gear geek. 🙂 Maybe a little. 

Anyway, you’ll notice that an extra page has been added at the side of this one explaining a little about InkNBurn, and with the offer of a discount code. Take a look, check out their gear (www.inknburn.com). You most definitely will not be disappointed in any purchase made from their page. 

 

Happy running! 

 

20 mile jitters

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done something. Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter that you know you CAN because you have before. Sometimes, you just get nervous. That’s me today.
Tomorrow, I tackle my first (and only) 20 mile run before the Marquette Marathon on August 30. I was debating weather to put it off for a week, but then I realized that next weekend is that local sidewalk sales in Downtown Holland, and I will be working, quite literally, all day long. If I put it off until next weekend, I will be running completely unsupported and alone. So, so much for that.
So why am I nervous? Because this is all a mental game. Running 20 miles has the potential to be completely awesome, or completely defeating, depending on how the run goes. Of course, one always hopes for the former, but it isn’t always the case.
And so I sit here at my desk feeling jittery.
The thoughts in my head go as such: “I’ve done this. I’ve done this before. How many times have a done this? Six other times including 2 marathons. Can I do this? Yes. Stop. Yes, you, brain. Stop it. This is not helping.”
It’s funny, because 2 years ago I never would have even fathomed running 20 miles. I would have laughed at you had you even suggested that I could run 20 miles.
I’ve come so far, and yet, still have so very far to go.
Good luck to all who are taking on races or long distance training runs this weekend.

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