Days 123-124 — Overthinking the long run

4 05 2010

Tired tired tired from Sunday’s 13-miler. Seemed like a great idea at the time I was doing it, but wow did it zap me ever since! I muddled through Monday and today — fighting to keep my eyes open while playing marbles with my son and watching my daughter’s soccer game. Forced myself to do a late night Classical Stretch Monday which did help my stiff leg muscles once the painful plies were finally over.

Maybe I shouldn’t have tried the full distance. Should have stuck with the SmartCoach, who told me to do 11. The debate goes on in my head…good to know I can do 13 without blood sugar crashing, but paying the price with a tired body now that just wants a rest day — from all things — work, shuttling kids, cooking, exercising. That would be a perfect reward after the race itself, but not in the cards when I have two weeks left to go ’til the half marathon.

The most famous race in our area is the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day. Equivalent to the Peachtree in Atlanta, most everyone who runs has either done it before or is training for it. You will always find a dozen people you know proudly wearing the t-shirt in June. I have never done this race and probably should someday when we’re not traveling for the holiday weekend or when I haven’t just run a half marathon…

This morning’s sports section in the Denver Post had its typical race-prep article: 10 ways to get ready for the Bolder Boulder 10K

I took number 3 to heart today — running my 2-mile recovery run loop in the park in blasting wind that sucked the Spring right out of the warm air.

“3. Train on fatigued legs. The key to running fast is to be able to train your body to run the second half of the race as hard or harder as the first half. To do that, you have to be able to train the body to run fatigued via a variety of specially designed workouts.”

And number 8 suggests you run the course to practice where to go fast, etc. This would take about six hours in traffic on busy Colfax Avenue in Denver, but I happened to drive part of it yesterday when we were near the route for a doctor’s appointment. It felt…long. And it was not even half of the course. Maybe it was all the stop lights? I seriously have been studying the map so I’m not totally surprised by how far it feels in real life. I’m adding what should be #11 on the race prep list: Don’t overthink it.

I find myself obsessing a bit over what I will wear in various weather conditions, what time I will get up that morning, how many glucose tablets can I fit in my pocket, whether I should try the Hydra Pouch water holder instead of the Amphipod, blue or purple Gatorade?….on and on. I need to have a solid plan, but I need to let go a bit too and remember this is for fun. There is no exactly right way to do the race. And I will very soon forget whether I chose the Pouch or the ‘Pod, wore the tank or the sleeves — tucking the race t-shirt into my bottom drawer with other milestone memories.


Days 121-122 – Trial Run

2 05 2010

Saturday I did a Classical Stretch Miranda said was good for runners, which I appreciated when I set out this morning to run 12 miles with my Gatorade-filled bottle in hand. A test run for hydration/sugar on board for almost the half marathon distance. It was a cool morning, but clear skies and mostly sunshine. After a 6 miles on the dirt road loop I was in good shape — blood sugar at 89, 8 ounces of Gatorade consumed and not too irritated by carrying the plastic Amphipod bottle that fits pretty nicely in my hand. I refilled the bottle quickly, ate a few glucose tablets on my porch and set out for another 6 miles. I took a different route to keep my brain from going numb. But between 10-11 miles felt numb all over.

My CGM (continuous glucose monitor) showed my blood sugar wasn’t dropping, and I kept sipping the blue drink. By the top of the hill at about 11.5 miles I felt fine and sprinted downhill to home. A quick blood glucose meter check on my porch read 90, and I decided I could do one more mile around the park trail. This would be my last chance to go the full distance, so why not?

More than two hours running is a lot of thinking time. For the beginning, I was super-focused on relaxing my arms and shoulders — harder with that bottle in my hand making it colder than it needed to be, yet warming the Gatorade too much. I passed horses on the farms and wondered at what age I stopped being so into those? Nine, ten maybe? Still like to look at them, but not too close. Noticed dozens of blooming trees and shrubs and tried to remember their names from the botany class Wendy and I took in college — when we got to wonder around campus staring up at branches. Thought about my sorority sister Lecia, who was running a marathon in Cincinnati today in the rain — so impressive, and wow that seems farther than ever now that I’ve done 13. Who can do that again!?! Made mental notes of several songs I need to add to my “Top 40 for 40” list to make it through race day. And wondered if you’re even allowed to have iPods. A must have for me. I will hide the wires under my shirt. Have to look that up in the rules. Thought tons about the race course and how I need to study it a bit this week. I like to have it tattooed on my brain so I can anticipate the mile markers and celebrate the landmarks on the way.

Happy to say I did it — stopping near the end to chat with Jo-Anna who was flying kites with her family. So a slow, cool down last mile put me at 2 hours, 11 minutes. (stopped my watch for the few minute pit stops, of course) I am so glad I did the distance (minus the .1) to know that I can make it in two weeks. And this put my total mileage for the week at 26.1 — almost a marathon… Should have done that .1 just to get there!

Most people think I’m nuts for going the whole distance in training, but when you have Type 1 diabetes, there’s not a lot of room for surprises if you want to finish a race. The SmartCoach training plan only had me going up to 11. I know after two runs over 10 miles that I need more food to get through the last 3. Even if I weren’t a diabetic this would be the case. So more snack experiments to come, with an 8-mile and 11-mile this week (back to what the SmartCoach prescribes). Then I get to scale back in prep for May 16.

I actually took a short nap this afternoon — hitting a wall a few hours after the run. Better make that part of my 40th birthday plan!

Day 108 – Don’t try to outsmart the coach

18 04 2010

I had big plans today to get to 11 miles. I self-edited my Runner’s World SmartCoach training plan (it’s a free online plan you customize for your goal, speed, etc.) to try to up mileage to get to 13 for a few runs before the half marathon. Always feeling I need to practice the whole run (including the .1) to see what my blood sugar does with that distance.

I’m not sure where Sundays go and why they go so fast? All day long I had low blood sugars whenever I was close to finding a near-2-hour window to run. We spent many hours planting and transplanting shrubs. My friend was digging up several from her yard and I was adopting them, so they had to be planted in the ground asap — causing a chain reaction of moving other shrubs from the front to the back, etc. Scott came up with a new show to pitch to HGTV a la “Trading Spaces” In “ER Garden,” neighbors will rush down the alley with plants that need a new home before their roots bake in the sun.

Whenever I thought I could sneak away, Scott needed my help in the dirt or the kids — who were having their own block party in the alley with about six other neighbor kids — needed snacks, help, sunscreen, popsicles, bike helmets, sandbox emergencies, on and on.

So finally I ran at 5:45 — before dinner. I decided to do just the 5 miles the SmartCoach told me to do today. Maybe she knows something I don’t. Afterall, whoever created that program must have a reason for dropping the mileage in week 12… Does she know that is when the weather is perfect for transplanting shrubs? Or that after 21 miles total last week my blood sugar levels would drop in protest for several days? Or that I might just be too tired after 11 miles today to face a frantic week?

I’ve trusted this computerized coach for 11 weeks, so I let myself off the hook and stuck to her prescribed 5 miles. Even those had my blood sugar sinking and begging for dinner.

This week, SmartCoach takes me up to 22 miles total (with just a 10 mile Sunday). For much needed inspiration, my top 40 countdown song today — #32 — is: Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life” …keep on movin’ don’t stop…

Day 24 – 16 weeks to 13.1 miles

24 01 2010

I made it to 5.6 miles today in prep for tomorrow, which marks the beginning of 16 weeks training for the half marathon on May 16. I am using the “Smart Coach” training program from, because a) it is free and b) I used it to build up to 9 miles last fall without injury. I actually used the 10-mile plan, because there was no 9-mile option.

The program lets you plug in your distance goal, current pace and running/training level and length of your training schedule. Here is my plan. It takes me from 13 miles a week up to 25, with three runs a week – longer runs on Sundays.

I like having a plan to follow just to make sure I’m increasing mileage at a reasonable rate and to see how miles should be spread out over each week. Last fall, I adjusted some days/distances based on weather and blood sugar levels. For this half plan, I choose “moderate” training over “hard,” because moderate builds mileage at 10% increases per week vs. 15%. I’ve read that 10% is safest to avoid injury.

As with the 9-mile plan, I will adjust it to let me practice 12- and 13-mile distances (packing more miles into longer day runs vs. spreading them out). Interestingly, the half plan never has you run more than 11 miles at a time, which won’t work for me. For a diabetic, at the two hour point while exercising you need food and insulin. I’ve talked a lot about this with my doctors, and it’s really kept me from tackling the half distance until now.

There are certainly Type 1 diabetics who deal with it — and even do full marathons or more. So I need to research a bit on the best combinations. Sprint triathlons, are less than two hours, so I just haven’t needed to worry about it. And triathlons have build-in breaks at transitions when it’s fairly easy to test blood sugar. Running doesn’t have natural stops…More to come on that as I get to week 10 or so!

Day 3 – The holiday honeymoon is ending

3 01 2010

Tomorrow kids go back to school and my clients are back in their offices waiting for my work to appear in their inboxes…so today was the last day of  freedom to create my own schedule around a run.

I waited for the sun to pop out, took Lottie for a mile walk and then went for a slow-paced 2.6 miles run on the park trail to give my aching calves a break from the hard concrete. It felt like running on marshmallows, but was really just welcoming soft patches of snow. At the start the sun was shining brilliantly and then light snow began to fall to remind me this is winter. It was beautiful and felt good until the darker clouds rolled in by the end. We are in for a colder week, so I’ll be forced to confront my enemy: the gym. The only thing I hate more than being cold is going to the gym where the air is sweaty and people are all around. I intend to change this bad gym attitude!

I have done some research on two fronts 1) winter running gear 2) upcoming races. The gear is more fun! Decided I need some better shoes for cold and snow. The contenders are the trail version of my beloved Brooks Adrenalines or Saloman XT Wings, which are trail running versions of my hiking shoes. I may deserve a trip to Boulder Runner Company for further research.

Also decided I need a shorter-term goal to keep this going. (No one said it would be cheap!) Races have always motivated me with a deadline. I’m considering a few options that raise the bar on distance beyond the 9 miles I did in the Oct. marathon relay. But will wait to make sure I can get through a ice-cold weeks first…

On I found a training schedule that leads up to a more intense training plan. It has 3, 4 and 5 mile runs each day, with Mon and Fri off (preceding and following longer Sun runs). Plan to try Pilates on Fridays, so I just need a Monday plan — hmm — by tomorrow! Must be somewhat restful and with stretching or I will surely exhaust myself. Perhaps a longer than usual walk with Lottie on the soft trail? Will see what inspiration I have in the a.m.!