Not so very long ago, Mrs. Champion (aka Liv) seized the opportunity to exploit my birthday by publishing damaging photos of yours truly on this here bloggy thing. Horrified as I may have been, the sentiment was rather dear, so I decided to forgive my sweet BFF for her poor decision making skills.
And while I very well may have forgiven my friend and running buddy, you better believe I was ready to return the favor with a little “Ode to Liv” of my own. Liv was one step ahead of me though. That sneaky little gal is the queen of de-tagging on the ‘Book, and my high school yearbooks are miles and miles away, so my options were somewhat limited – and these will just have to do.
You see, Liv is now turning the ripe old age of…. Well, crap. I really can’t make fun of her age because she was always freakishly young for our grade… and I will always be older. So let’s just leave age out of it.
Anyway, Liv is getting older today (yay!) And she is no doubt peaking this year as far as bday celebrations go. She is spending a week in Napa, drinking herself silly with only a faint memory of some marathon that she may or may not be running in a few weeks (which is exactly how any week in Napa should be, btw).
So I’m sending out some birthday love through cyber space to my running buddy. You got me into this whole running mess and you’re the reason I can’t get out of it. And for that, I wanna kick you where the sun don't shine am forever grateful.
This year has pulled us apart in more ways than one. Our homes are now an entire .75 miles away from each other. Our desks at work were moved to opposite sides of the office... then to entirely different companies. Not to mention, the distance between our running pace has grown embarrassingly long – so much that, frankly, I don’t know if I’ll be able to see on marathon day with all that dust you’re kicking up in my face. And here you are on your birthday, celebrating all the way across the country!
But distance be damned (ooh! Good marathon chant), you’re still my #1 gal. You’re the best peer pressuring BFF I could ask for - and I'm oh so very glad you and your running shoes entered this world 20-something years ago on this very day!
It's official. I'm switching to the run/walk team for the MCM. I was determined to avoid this point and had hoped my training would be much further along. But as time has passed (far more quickly than the miles), I no longer feel so guilty about the Jeff Galloway approach. Not to mention, this article from the Huffington Post popped up on my Twitter feed this week, so I decided it was fate.
For one thing, it's my first (and maybe probably last) marathon. My goal is to enjoy the overall experience, rather than push myself to the point of no return. Don't get me wrong - I'm still going to be in an incomprehensible amount of pain that I am choosing to ignore right now. But I think it will make the overall experience slightly more enjoyable.
Secondly, I can actually still finish the marathon within my goal time (under 5 hours) by taking the run/walk approach. It doesn't HAVE to mean that my friends and family will be finishing dinner before I finish - so long as I keep on track with the run 3/walk 1 schedule.
And lastly (and by far, most importantly), I'll still have a buddy (and possibly two if we can keep Megs from dropping out) to run/walk it with. Tess has been training to run/walk it the entire time (she's already done a full 26!), so if I can keep up with her, we can entertain each other at least some (and maybe most) of the way.
So... what do you think? Am I a wuss? Probably. But not because of this. I'll still be running 21 of the 26 miles. I just have delicious walk breaks to look forward to now. Has anyone else tried the run/walk approach? I'm all ears for helpful advice.
Check out my nephew Allen B. totally dominating the Boosterthon, a fun run program where elementary school kids find sponsors (my yellow lab, River, sponsored Al last year. She also received a thank you note) to pledge a certain amount of $$ for every lap the kids run. The more kids move, the more money is raised. Such an awesome concept - and a fantastic fundraising program for schools.
Leave it up to Allen B. to add his unique flare to running. You'll know him when you see him. He would be the totally focused, sweatband-sporting, high-fiving backwards runner (he pops up around :30 seconds). He's clearly determined to bankrupt his sponsors.
I recently stumbled upon this super simple 10 step guide to running a marathon from an old issue of Outside magazine. I must say, I'm totally diggin' this "just do it" approach. This newbie guide takes all of the complexity of training out of the process and basically tells you to suck it up and run, dummy.
Here's the full article. And here are the 10 "simple" steps:
Hi! (and *waving*) Remember me? Yeah, me either. I'm just not going to spend any time explaining where I've been (sitting at my desk) or handing out excuses of why I haven't been blogging (no good reason) - instead, I'm just going to jump back into it...with a few iPhone pictures of lovely DC from my run this morning. It's getting to be my favorite time of year. I love fall mornings when it's slightly cool and crisp.
I made a little detour to check out DC's newest monument. The MLK, Jr. memorial. Nothing like a pause for reading inspirational quotes in the middle of your run.
It's also getting to be that time of year where we are losing daylight. It's now about 6:30 or later before it's getting light outside.
Sun coming up over Tidal Basin with Jefferson Monument to the right
On another note, Sal + Liv are leaving on a jet plane tomorrow for a friend's wedding in Charleston, SC. I could not be more excited as I have never been to Charleston before, which I feel is blasphemous because I'm pretty sure Charleston and I are going to be best friends. It seems to have all the makings of my ideal city: Southern town, on the water, good food everywhere, gorgeous houses, antiquing, shopping, history...the list goes on.
"I'm going back to dignity and grace. I'm going back to Charleston, where I belong." - Name that movie quote
I have no idea if there are any amazing trails or great places to run (please chime in if you know of any), but I've made myself a route to get the full tour. It runs all along the waterfront, through the College of Charleston campus, and finishes down King street to take a peak in a friend's store. I'm going to need to either add on or loop this route to get enough miles in.
My music library has been looking a little sad lately. And I just started a new job last week, so frankly, my days of searching for new tunes are a thing of the past. Thankfully, Megs and the fine gals of Urban Chic came to my rescue with a mix of older tunes and some lovely new additions to my playlist. Enjoy!
According to the training plan that Liv + I are VERY loosely following, this weekend was our 16-mile run. My training has been slacking in a big way lately, so I knew it was going to be ugly. I can't claim to have run the full 16 - I had to stop and walk quite a few times - but I eventually covered 16 miles of distance, at least.
I actually broke up my run into two sections: an 11 mile run, followed by a 20 minute stretch break and refueling before finishing up the final 5. It's probably a little unconventional to split up the distance, and maybe a little counterintuitive since the purpose of long runs is to build up endurance. Even so, I knew that my legs were rusty, and it mentally helped me a lot to work toward a smaller/shorter distance goal.
It was a monumental day for me for two reasons:
I finally figured out how to properly hydrate and nourish before a long run. My last few long runs have ended far too early because I started seeing big white spots and my legs went wobbly. Frankly, it was a little scary to suddenly get so lightheaded on my runs. And my stomach's tendency to turn over and over has been awfully frustrating. So, I deliberately focused on my hydration in the days leading up to this weekend's long run and was conscious of everything that went into my body. Though my stomach was still a wee bit on edge (and I think it always will be), I felt strong and stable throughout the run - at least until my legs started begging for mercy.
I tried my first GU, and let me tell you, I'm not a fan. The texture was pretty horrendous in my opinion, but it DID help me barrel through. I tried the Strawberry-Banana (which is normally one of my favorite flavor combos), and it still makes me a little squeamish to think about the way it slithered down my throat. Regardless, I recognize that it helped, so I'll continue to try it out.
Any recommendations for GU flavors? Do you guys slurp it all down at once? I kinda carried it along with me and took a pull whenever I could build up the nerve (which is probably a little like slowly pulling off a Band-Aid one centimeter at a time).
We all run for different reasons. People run to leave behind stress, to forget, to lose weight, to clear their heads, or to process. Sometimes we run simply to run.
Runner's World is featuring thirteen amazing runners who were motivated by the events of 9/11. Their stories are no doubt inspiring. And they help me to remember that everything I'm learning from this marathon training experience will not end when I cross the finish line in October. This is a life transformation that Liv + I are making by learning to run. And though I hope to never personally experience anything as horrific as what these runners have worked through, I find peace knowing that, because I've invited running into my life, it will always be there for me - no matter why I run.