Thoughts On Marathon #2

Just like that, marathon #2 is done! This is the marathon that I knew I could do… my final time was 4:42:37, which is over an hour faster than I ran San Diego. While I wouldn’t trade the accomplishment/experience of getting through San Diego (long story short, I had severe “tummy troubles”), this was an entirely different experience. I actually got to enjoy (well, as much as one can enjoy running for 26.2 miles) the course, the people, the music, and the overall experience. It was 22ish degrees at the start and a balmy 40ish degrees at the finish, which besides a little discomfort at the beginning (running with frozen toes anyone?) was actually nice weather to run in. I’ll take cold over hot any day!

I Did It!
Me At The Finish Line

The Signs: There were the traditional funny running signs (“Worst Parade Ever” and “Who Needs Toenails Anyway?”) and some new ones I hadn’t seen before (at mile 2: “You’re not almost there!”). One that really touched me read “Someday you won’t be able to do this. Today is not that day”. I don’t know why, but that was really inspiring to me, because it’s so freaking true. Unless you’re that 80 year old guy who passed me at mile 25. Apparently then you can do it for the rest of your life.

The Spectators: My mom was amazing… she was absolutely everywhere! It was so great to see a friendly face among the supporters. I think she ended up making it to four different spots on the course and screamed her lungs out! Kati, Nate, Mike, and Chloe all joined her at the end… it was much-needed support to get me across the line! Kati even made me laugh, which at that point in the race is really hard to do! Poor Dad was home sick, but was proudly posting to Facebook! I can’t believe how many people were out there in the cold cheering all of us runners on. I began to actually think “They must be freezing… at least I get to run to stay warm!”.

The Aftermath: I am seriously considering writing Dr. Seuss to come up with some new running inspired books, such as Oh The Places You’ll Chafe and One Gu, Two Gu, Chocolate Gu, Vanilla Gu. I went home and took a long, hot bath in our jet tub… it was the most amazing thing ever. This time around I am not nearly as in pain as I was with the first one. I am definitely sore and stiff today, but I think that by tomorrow I’ll be the “hurts so good” sore. And, I’m starting to get hungry. I wasn’t really yesterday, and I know that by tomorrow I’ll want to eat everything in sight. Hooray for running!

I am really proud of myself for doing this one. Honestly, this could not have been a better marathon experience. I felt like from the start of training all the way through the day-after pains I was able to actually enjoy the experience. My training runs were beautiful and I took time on the course yesterday to reflect on the whole process. There’s just something about setting your mind to something and actually doing it. Something that you have to push your body to do. More so than your body, your mind.

I think this might have been my last one, but I’ve learned to never say never! 🙂

Sayonara Toenails

Well, the inevitable has happened. I managed to avoid it for the entire first time I trained for and ran a marathon, but no such luck this time around.

Source: http://bestracesigns.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/overrated/
Source: http://bestracesigns.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/overrated/

I’m officially losing toenails. That’s right, toenails as in more than one. Two to be exact. No, you don’t have to worry about me actually posting pictures of said toenails… I will spare you the gory details. Just know that there are two that are not going to be there very soon. The good thing is it does’t really hurt… they get sore, they turn colors, and well, that’s it. Maybe that’s because I’m dealing with all of the other running pains and that’s just the lesser of evils. Either way.

All of that fun stuff said, I can’t believe that marathon #2 is next week. As in 12 days away. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by. Training has definitely been different this time around. I’m much more aware of my body and much less stressed about the little things. I’ve actually gotten to the point that I can enjoy the scenery on my longer runs. And I’ve figured out those terrible “tummy troubles” that I had a lot of last time. My only issue this time around (besides the toenail thing) is this annoying cold that I can’t seem to kick. Hopefully that clears up in the next few days (fingers crossed!) and I can take this marathon by storm!!!

Zac Brown Band 2013 Tour

I know that I’ve been terrible about posting lately, but life has been super busy. When I’m not working (I spent two days in Oregon this week), I’m running (it was peak week – I knocked out 40 miles, including a 22 miler yesterday!). I know, excuses, excuses.

I did manage to fit in a concert this week – I entered a raffle at work and won tickets to see the Zac Brown Band in the Intel Suite! Obviously, I love country music, but this went so far beyond my expectations.

Brig & I At ZBB
Brig & I At ZBB

I’ll start with the bad part of the show… the opening act, Niko Moon. He even has a crappy web page. He’s a rocker, but not like country rock. Rock rock. Which really felt odd – in fact, there were even some boos from the crowd (who came decked out in plaid, cowboy hats, and cowboy boots). You could hardly understand the words to his songs and it completely rubbed me the wrong way.

Zac Brown, on the other hand, was phenomenal. I always judge a band by how well they play live. And man, can they play live. His band includes seven members (two drummers/percussionists, two guitarists, a violinist, a bassist, and of course, Zac Brown). Each of them is absolutely amazing at their instrument and almost all of them stepped out to play something that wasn’t their main instrument. Mid-show they did a great acoustic set that showcased their absolutely perfect harmonies. Some of the jamming they did was spectacular – not only did they play like crazy, but you felt like they were seriously having fun. And like you were a part of their jam session.

Not only did I love their music, but they did some amazing covers including “Enter Sandman” (seriously, a country band that kicks ass on a Metallica song?!), the Eagles’ “Seven Bridges Road”, and James Tayor’s “Frozen Man”.

However, their encore was quite possibly the best encore I’ve ever seen a band do. They came out and started with “Uncaged” from their new album by the same title. As that song drew to an end, it just sort of morphed into Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”. Like an amazing version of it. From there it morphed into one of the fastest, most impressive versions of Charlie Daniels’ “Devil Went Down To Georgia” that I’ve ever heard. It was absolutely amazing.

I will definitely be seeing the Zac Brown Band again – they’re like the Dave Matthews Band but countrified. If they come to a city near you, it’s definitely worth the price of a ticket!

Proof That Running Makes You A Little Crazy

This morning I ran twelve miles before work. It was a beautiful morning – I started with four miles on the treadmill because it was still dark out, and let’s be real, I have no desire to be eaten by a mountain lion. In fact, I’m scared to death. So, I did some time on the TM and then headed out to my normal road to finish the last eight. It was absolutely beautiful – dare I say that fall is almost here? It was cool and clear and I got to see the sun come up. Not a bad way to kick off your Friday!

While I was running I got a text message from my sister. It was Miss Chloe saying good morning:

Good Morning!!!
Good Morning!!!

Being the fun aunt that I am, I decided to say good morning back in the same way (so that she understands, of course):

Good Morning Chloe!
Good Morning Chloe!

Yup, running actually makes you crazy. Just a little.

Ten

It’s really interesting to me how different training for a marathon is this time around. Last year every run was a mental test where I was thinking “this is the farthest I’ve ever run”. I was unsure if I could do it. Now I have confidence in my body and my mind that I was lacking last year. I know I can get through the runs, even if the worst should happen. I know how to deal with all of the little aches and pains. Dare I say, I’m actually enjoying it. I’m taking time to look at the scenery and to stay in tune with my body.

Today I test drove the Clif Shot Bloks. While they didn’t upset my stomach per se, they didn’t exactly sit well either. I ended up with a really bad side cramp that lasted for about three miles after I took them. I think that they might have been a little too much for my tummy to digest, but fortunately it didn’t rebel. I did like the consistency and taste – they were strawberry flavored and the consistency of swedish fish. I do love a good swedish fish, but maybe it’s not the best idea while running. I may give the jelly beans a try next weekend – they seem to be a favorite of many of my runner friends.

In other news, you might notice that my blog has a different look and feel. I decided tonight that I wanted a change, so I switched it up. What do you think? Do you like it? Use the comments spot below – I value your feedback!

Nine

One of my favorite things about running near my house is that it’s a little bit off the beaten path. One of my favorite areas to run is this great little road that has some hills and winds through the country. Normally I see all sorts of fun animals… horses, cows, deer, etc. This morning I was treated to a rare sight… the llama. They’re used to guard sheep around here as they’re apparently very protective and effective against coyotes and mountain lions. This “little” guy was just hanging out by the creek watching me run on by.

Llama
Llama

All in all, today was a good run – nine miles. I tried a new fuel since I seemed to have some “tummy troubles” the last time I trained for a marathon. I have always used Gu to refuel, but decided to give something else a go. Today’s experiment was with Power Bar’s Energy Blends. This one was banana and blueberry. I was a little bit leery, but it actually tasted really good – they use real fruit, so you don’t end up feeling like you’re choking down frosting. It was more like a smoothie than anything. I took it at five miles so that I would have another four of running and could see what it did to my tummy… no troubles here! Next week I’m going to try Clif’s Shot Bloks. Fingers crossed!

PB Energy Blend
PB Energy Blend

For those of you that run or do endurance activities, what’s your favorite way to refuel? What works and what doesn’t?

Marathon Training Part Deux

Marathon #2 training is officially underway. This time around I feel like I know what I’m in for and I know what I’m doing. I’m actually looking forward to the aches and pains, the sweat, and that great “I-just-finished-a-sixteen-mile-run” feeling. I understand the importance of stretching, foam rolling, and compression socks. I know that if the worst happens, well, I survived it in San Diego.

I’m also making a conscious effort to eat healthier this time around. Not that I didn’t before, but there’s something about running that makes me hungry. Like really HUNGRY. And I tend to think “I ran ten miles this morning, so I can eat animal style fries and a chocolate shake for lunch”, which probably doesn’t help too much. I am trying to get better about eating healthier foods like fruits and veggies for snacks and trail mix instead of candy. So far, so good. I’ll definitely enjoy my In-N-Out, but I’m trying to make it more of a treat than a regular occurrence. I’ve also given up most caffeine. I have a love-hate relationship with Diet Coke and have completely stopped drinking it – all that I have is my one white mocha in the morning.

Honestly, I’ve started feeling so much better – I have more energy throughout the day and I’m sleeping better at night! Here’s to being healthier!