Saturday, October 27, 2012


I really, really hope that the rain doesn't start until after the marathon is over.  Of course, this does seem like excellent motivation to run a fast race.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

One Week to Go!

It's crazy that this is my last full week before the race, but I'm ready.  I've broken in the shoes that I'll wear on race day, bought all of my carb loading food, and tested a new pair of capris.

My plan for this week is loosely based on the tapering strategy I mentioned earlier this month, with the exception of running on Saturday.  I've never run the day before a race, and I'm not about to start now.

Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Speed workout, 2 x 1 Mile @ 9:33, 4 x 400 @ 8:50
Friday: 3 miles
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 37th Marine Corps Marathon!

Other than running, my plan is to get ample sleep during the week, treat my body well (these bourbon pumpkin pie milkshakes will have to wait until after the race), carb load properly (starting on Thursday), and not stress out too much.  I've done this three times.  I've done the training. 

I'm ready to rock.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MCM Taper - Week 2

The weather in DC is perfect for running, and I'm starting to feel really good about the upcoming marathon.

On Saturday, I hit the treadmill for Yasso 800s.  In theory, to run a marathon at a certain time - say 4 hours - you should be able to run repeats of 800 meters in 4 minutes.  I've done this workout a few times during training but finally got myself up to 10-800 meter repeats (7 x 800 @ 4:15, and 3 x 800 @ 4:00).  The repeats were a nice push to get me in shape for the race. 

This week, I started with cross-training, a rest day, and a 4-mile tempo run.  The rest of the week includes:

Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: 3 miles and strength training

Monday, October 15, 2012

Runner's World: Sole Sisters of '72

For some reason, Runner's World makes it really hard to share articles from current issues.  That, or I don't know how to use the internet after all these years.

If you can get your hands on a copy (or have the patience to wait until the content is posted online next month), the November issue includes an article, written by Charles Butler, about six women who entered the New York City Marathon after the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) ruled that women could participate in marathons -- provided that the start 10 minutes before or after the men's race.  The gun went off to start the women's race, and they sat and waited until the start of the men's race.

I may or may not have a girl crush on the six women who showed up for the 1972 NYCM.  And, by "may or may not," I mean, "I do." 

The article contains an excerpt from an interview with Nina Kuscsik, the first women to win the Boston Marathon (officially), that resonated:
Philip Nobile: "Long distance running isn't the most womanly thing a woman can do; all that sweating and grunting, so why do you do it?"
Kuscsik: "Just the way you phrase the question shows your attitude.  Who says it is not the most feminine thing a woman can do and who says sweating and grunting isn't feminine? [...] Running is neither masculine or feminine.  It's just healthy..."
I'm adding these ladies to my wall of inspirational women...right next to my framed photo of Leslie Knope!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Beginning the Taper

Last Saturday, I did my last 20-mile run of this training cycle.  I learned that running 20 miles on two consecutive Saturdays is a terrible idea.  It's cool, though, because now it's time to taper.

Runner's World featured an article this month describing a tapering strategy that scales back on mileage but not intensity.

From the article:
In principle, tapering should be simple–run less so you're rested for race day. In practice, many athletes find two to three weeks of cutting back on mileage and intensity makes their legs feel heavy and lifeless. But Spanish coach and physiologist Iñigo Mujika, a leading expert on tapering, sees a way around that problem. Mujika suggests athletes start their taper early, scaling back on mileage but not intensity, then three days before the event, "reload" their muscles with an interval workout. Performing these workouts when your legs are fresher than they've been for months can actually increase your fitness.

Indeed, too much rest or slow running lowers the muscle tension in your legs, says Norwegian Olympian and 13:06 5-K runner Marius Bakken, which is why they feel flat and sluggish. Short, fast bursts of running raise muscle tension back up. If you get your taper right, your body will respond by producing more oxygen-carrying red blood cells, lowering stress hormone levels, and storing more fuel in your muscles–enough to shave about three percent off your finishing time, on average. Here's how to inject some energy into your taper so you shed fatigue and sharpen your edge.
The last few taper cycles (including those for half-marathons), I've taken the attitude of "It's cool; I'm tapering" and totally slacked off when it came to pace.  I'm curious to try this going forward.

My runs over the last week haven't gone as well as I would have liked.  I imagine that it's a combination of trying to do speed work only a few days after running 20 miles and on a few hours of sleep (I had an early flight to Pittsburgh on Tuesday and two intense days of meetings -- who knew my body would hate me for trying to run).  So far, I have about six miles logged for the week with a planned 90-minute speed workout tomorrow morning.

It's getting real, folks...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Real Bears and Soda

I saw this on A Black Girls' Guide to Weight Loss, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  My first thought was something like, "Oh look - it's a family of cartoon bears!" (Clearly, I'm a two year-old.)

That didn't last long...

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the creators of the film:

The Real Bears tells the story of a family of polar bears who, even in their distant Arctic environment, are not immune from sunny marketing messages from Big Soda. The whole family is consuming too much soda… and is experiencing everything from weight gain to tooth decay to problems in the bedroom. Only after recuperating from a terrifying visit to Doc Fox's chilly surgical suite does Pop Bear come to realize that soda has brought nothing but sadness to his family. In the film's stirring dénouement, he leads his family to reclaim their health—and their happiness.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

MCM 37: Weekly Round-Up (6)

Twenty-five days to go!

I received my MCM eCard today, which included my bib number and information about the expo.  I can't believe that it's almost here -- which is also to say, where did the last four months go? 

Last Saturday, I had one of the best three-and-a-half hour runs ever.  It may have been the fact that the weather was gorgeous, that I tried a new route, or that I was looking forward to baking this chocolate stout cake.  Whatever it was, I felt great.  I was able to run for 45-minute intervals, stopping only for gels and restroom breaks.  Finishing 19 miles and feeling like I could run more was a huge confidence boost.

This is my last week before the taper period.  Already, I've done a short hill workout, cross-trained, and ran 4 miles.  Left for this week are a speed workout and a 22-miler for Saturday.  Here's hoping that it goes well.