Monday, October 31, 2011

MCM According to Sal

As I hobble around like Frankenstein on this chilly Halloween day, I couldn't be happier that the Marine Corp Marathon is yesterday's news. It was truly a fantastic experience and I am ecstatic that we were able to see our goal through. Going from hardly being able to run one mile to knocking out a marathon in less than a year was no small feat - and though I'm not sure I'd recommend it to others, I am very proud of all of the hard work that went into making this dream a reality.

Given all of the knee and IT band issues I was having leading up to the race, I certainly expected to have some pain while on the course, but I hoped that all of my foam rolling and 3+ weeks of rest would lessen the inflammation around my knee and I'd be able to trot along using the strong base of running I had built over the last few months. What I did not expect is for my knee to act up in such an abrupt and severe manner as it did yesterday. I started strong with my whole crew, including Liv, but at mile 1.5 - far earlier than I ever would have imagined - my knee let out an audible POP and I saw the rest of the race unravel. It came on so suddenly and unexpectedly that I felt dizzy from the stress and disappointment. That was the last I saw of Liv, and frankly, I worried it was the last I'd see of the course, too. My knee throbbed from pain - sometimes as sharp, shooting pains, but every so often lessening to a dull, slightly-more-tolerable pain. It popped a couple more times as I attempted to run again, so I called my fam and asked them to have Advil ready at mile 8. 

Over the next several miles, the pain would come and go. I experienced another major POP around mile 11 (exactly when the photog was snapping a pic, of course... would love to see that lovely snapshot). The pain was so crippling at times that I worried trying to fight through would cause long-term damage. That's when my incredible training team came to the rescue. PTW (the boyfri) could have finished the marathon in under 3 hours if he wanted to, but he stuck by my side from start to finish. He pushed me when he could tell I needed it, and backed off when he knew I was already fighting as hard as I could. Not once did he grumble or mumble when I slowed to a walk or took yet another stretching pit stop. And he was one of many members of my support crew... 

Two of my brothers and sister-in-law joined me for most of the course, distracting me from the pain that slowly spread from my knee to every last inch of my body. They ran ahead and pointed out mile markers and upcoming snacks and gave me something to focus on other than my diminishing strength. They made me feel like I was doing much better than I really was, and for that, I'm forever grateful. My entire family made posters and waved around Bama foam fingers and Halloween balloons.

Even my sweet lil' 1.5 year old nephew stuck it out through the freezing cold (with an earache no less!) to cheer me on and put a smile on my face.

It was no doubt a day that I will never forget. I can't thank my parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, boyfriend and many, many friends for all of their cheering, running, praying, poster-making, texting, emailing and commiserating.

Though running is typically a solitary sport, yesterday felt like anything but. Having a network of support had an immeasurable positive influence on my performance yesterday, and I can now proudly say, "I've run a marathon." 

P.S. Stay tuned for Liv's entirely different recap of the course. She pretty much dominated the race yesterday - so much so that we didn't even get to take photos together afterwards because she was already eating lunch (sigh). Very proud of Liv for sticking to her training plan and showing the rest of us first-timers how it's really done.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gang's All Here

We've already gushed about our fabulous footsy fans and their uncompromising support for this marathon venture, but never in a zillion years could we have anticipated such a fantastic showing from our friends and family.

As we inch closer and closer to the big day, Liv + I are overwhelmed with excitement as everyone, and we mean everyone, treks to the District for the big day. We have parents, grandparents, brothers, boyfriends, girlfriends, sisters-in-law and a mob of buddies - and they're all here to push us along the course and celebrate with us at the finish line. 

I have so much adrenaline rushing through my body, I'm ready to forget this whole run/walk business and sprint toward the finish line (okay, not really. but i'm awfully excited). So a big THANK YOU goes out to all of our loved ones. You guys are the best, and we're so pumped to share this day with you!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Live Up To Your Own Expectations

I promise I'm [probably] done with my Born to Run obsession, but the book really is just that good. And I need as much inspiration as possible to prepare for Sunday. So... some quick pearls of wisdom from el Caballo Blanco to start your day off right...

"And if I really wanted to understand the Raramuri, I should have been there when this ninety-five-year-old man came hiking twenty-five miles over the mountain. Know why he could do it? Because no one ever told him he couldn't. No one ever told him he oughta be off dying somewhere in an old age home. You live up to our own expectations, man."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Think Healthy Thoughts

I finally went to an Urgent Care Center this morning. A little over a week with this nagging cold and no improvement wasn't adding up - and the ticker is ticking mighty fast for Sunday's approach.

Never did I imagine the woman holding the new age thermometer that only touches your temple would then say (as if it were no big deal mind you) - "You have a fever of 101." 101?!?! Doesn't she know I'm running a marathon on Sunday.

Insert one Z-pack prescription for what could be Bronchitis (it's fine, I don't need to use my lungs or anything to distribute oxygen to my muscles and all of my viatal organs), specific instructions to take IB Profin and a good cough syrup at every possible maximum dosage hourly interval, and required sleep.

Per-fect, I didn't want to run that last run of 30 to 40 minutes tomorrow anyway, it's supposed to rain. This doctor didn't seem to get it. Didn't she pick up on the inflection in my voice as I said, "but I'm running a marathon on Sunday." That was code for "don't you have anything stronger?" Well it was code - until I finally asked her straight-up for something stronger. Apparently she didn't believe in miracle shots or boosters of the sort.

I have super timing! Please send healthy thoughts my way.

The Romance of Running

Continuing with my inspirational excerpts from Born to Run, I found myself both convicted and inspired by ultramarathoner Ann Trason's analysis of the romance of running:

"Grueling, grimy, muddy, bloody, lonely trail-running equals moonlight and champagne. But yeah, Ann insisted, running was romantic; and no of course her friends didn't get it because they'd never broken through. For them, running was a miserable tow miles motivated solely by size 6 jeans: get on the scale, get depressed, get your headphones on, and get it over with."

Ouch. Clearly, Liv + I have quite frequently fallen into the category of Ann's friends. But every so often, the romance finds its way into running, and the two work in harmony to create the ultimate "runner's high."

"You have to be in tune with your body, and know when you can push it and when to back off... You have to listen closely to the sound of your own breathing; be aware of how much sweat is beading on your back; make sure to treat yourself to cool water and a salty snack and ask yourself, honestly and often, exactly how you feel. What could be more sensual than paying exquisite attention to your own body? Sensual counted as romantic, right?"

Through the bang-ups and hang-ups of injury and training pitfalls, I've certainly realized our mistake of committing to a marathon before we learned to truly love running. We no doubt would be in a better situation now if we were more seasoned runners with years of experience under our belts. But for Liv + I, we needed a goal to work toward to make us stick with running - otherwise, we both would've quickly gotten sidetracked by whatever fitness craze seemed exciting and new. So while our approach has been a little unconventional and slightly extremely alarming to our bodies, it has mostly worked for us. 

But I find myself jealous of Ann's love affair with running and her full understanding of her body's needs and limitations (if she actually has limitations, that is). The good news is that the marathon is only the beginning of a lifetime of running for us - and our love affair with running will continue to grow. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"How did I get here?"

Lately I've had a lot of conversations with friends about the upcoming marathon. (Note: okay all of my friends considering that's on the forefront of my mind. A promise to all's almost over) Most of these discussions range from them saying: "I don't know how you run that far," "I could never run that far," "I hate running" - so on and so forth. But to them (or to anyone) I say "if I can do it - you can do it." I also recently had one friend tell me she is considering the Cherry Blossom 10 miler next year and she was asking for this here blog address so she can see how we did it. Because remember - we started our "true" training routine with a good 'ol 10-miler.

I almost just sent her the link to the blog and the link to the training plan with a few of my professional* tips. But then I thought - NO - I've turned over a new leaf, I'm on a blogging streak and this is good material! I mean - people should pay for this stuff. And as I reflected over almost what is now a full year of figuring this running thing out, I asked myself "well, how did I get here?"

While that is only one of a few Talking Head songs that will be gracing my marathon playlist, in the context of this post, "here" means how did I get to the point where I think I will be able to toe the marathon starting line. Let it be known I'm not guaranteeing victory - I could still break my leg walking down the street tomorrow so I don't want to tempt fate this close to D-day. But before this whole thing started I NEVER thought I'd be able to run a half-marathon and definitely not a twenty mile training run.

So to all those out there that think they "could never" do it, or those that are thinking about starting but don't really know where to begin, herein lies my tips - the things that I learned or that made the biggest difference for me.

*professional in this sense of the word means novice

1. Start slow - of course someone that can cover the distance of only one mile can't fathom running 5 miles. That's why you start slow. Even if you've signed up for a 10 miler only being able to run one, just concentrate on running the one mile, don't think about the ten - it will come. Just run consistently (and I'm the perfect example that "consistent" doesn't have to mean every single day) until one mile feels so comfortable you might as well do two. Hell you probably even will want to try two, ya know, just to see if you can and what it feels like....and then, hey - whouldya look at that, you can do two!

So you follow this pattern and two turns to three, and then three to four and before you know it - your best friend has forced you into doing a 10K Turkey Trot (that's 6.2 miles). But wait, ohmygod I've only done 4 - there is no way I can do 6! But then the adrenaline of race day comes and you get carried away, and it was hard, and you struggled a little, and you were out of breath - but OH LOOK - you just ran 6 friggin' miles!

So that's how it starts - slow and steady. And you don't have to go in such a linear succession. You could go from two to three and realize that three really sucked. Okay fine - cut it back down to two for a couple of weeks until you're ready to try for three again, you could even skip to four. That's what you do in the "real" marathon and half marathon training plans anyway.

2. Get Outside! - Remember when I was addicted to the treadmill? Gah seems so long ago, but I totally was. Now the mere thought of running just 2 miles on the treadmill makes me want to, well - I just don't do it actually. I'd rather run in the rain. Plus, treadmills are dangerous y'all! When I finally went outside it was like a whole new world. That's when I really started to enjoy running. I actually wanted to do it, needed it, looked forward to it.

It is also the best way to explore your city. I had already lived in DC for a year, I never realized there was so much I hadn't even seen. But running took me through all new neighborhoods and on trails through parts of the city I hadn't yet been. And it looks so different from outside a moving car. This is also true for travelling. After I started running, whenever we traveled to fun places I couldn't wait to map a route to discover the city. Which brings me to my next point...

4. Find an online mapping tool - There are tons out there, but my personal favorite is Daily Mile. I found that their routing system was the easiest. It is super helpful, and your run becomes less daunting when you plan out your route in advance. I found that walking out my front door and then just thinking to myself, "hmmm- I need to run for 4 miles so I'll just...start running I guess" made me less excited to run. But when I had a plan I felt more comfortable about where I was going and I was more confident about the run making it more enjoyable.

All of those sites have other bells and whistles, like being able to track everything about your run from your mileage and your pace to the weather. I personally love the shoe calculator. It keeps up with how many miles you have put on your current pair of shoes so you can know when it's time for a new pair. Keeping track of your stats may sound like something only serious runners do, but even as someone just getting started it serves as a tool to show you just how far you've come and how much progress you have made - and when you see improvement it encourages you to keep at it. It becomes rather addicting actually.

3. Get the right gear. This one is a two-parter.
  • Get the right shoes and get to know your local running store. I say local because local running stores are awesome and huge chains are evil. No - not really...but I just like to support the mom and pops. Plus they are usually more in tune to the community and you can discover this whole new runners world. Make friends with them because they can keep you informed, and also save you when you hobble in after a horrible run or help you diagnose things like patellar tendinitis. At said local running store, they will test your gait and you will discover that you were in the wrong shoes. Don't worry - almost everyone that doesn't know anything about their gait is in the wrong shoes. But you'll learn so much about yourself - like your pronation. Doesn't everyone want to know if they are a neutral runner or if they pronate? No - just me? okay moving on.
  • Invest in the right clothing gear. I use the word "invest" because if you've been following this blog at all, then you are well aware that we are lulu-fools. And there is a reason that they are not cheap - they are the best, and they last! I thought that it was for me that I would run in weather colder than 45. When I used to do that bad things would happen. My legs would be cold and my skin would get red and tight and itchy. The tubes in my ears would freeze resulting in a headache (those are your eustachian tubes for the record, not your fallopian tubes. don't confuse those, people will look at your weird if you do). The first time I took my Lululemon Alpine tights, gloves and hat out for a spin, I was turning cartwheels as I ran and spreading the good news to strangers, " Iiii can run in the coooold." I also wasn't blessed with long thin super model legs or small perky boobs. One in such state must consider two words: chafing and bouncing. Good gear can help you with that!
4. Phone a friend - Obviously the whole premise of this "experiment" was that we were doing it together, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Getting out of bed at 5:30 AM became doable when you knew you had a friend waiting on you and depending on you - it was therapy. And even when we couldn't run together, just knowing we were in it together was huge.

When the training runs got really long - I found that a local running group was absolutely necessary to get me to those first time distances of 12, then 16 and finally 20 miles. Honestly couldn't have done it by myself. There is something about running with a group of people that keeps you going and lets you know you aren't the only one trodding along for hours at a time. I'm looking at you - 30,000 people signed up for Sunday - counting on you to get me to the finish.

5. Research - there is so much information out there, like actual legit running blogs, books and websites that DO teach you about form and should check them out. Right now you don't know anything - and it's okay not to know anything, I still don't really. But if you seek it out and learn then you'll be less likely to throw in the towel at the first sign of being uncomfortable and you'll see that there are so many other people experiencing your same frusta

Whew....hello. *tap* *tap* - this thing on? If you are still with me, which I don't blame you if you aren't because this just won an award for longest blog post in the history of ever. Here is to hoping this might help just one person realize that it is doable. And though it has it's up and downs, it's a pretty fun journey. What about you, "experienced" runners - what advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Monday, October 24, 2011

MCM Goodie Bag: A Peek Inside

This year, the busy bees at MCM decided to put together an iGiftBag, featuring goodies from race sponsors like Dunkin Donuts and Gatorade. To be honest, I'm not that into race gift bags - I just have a hard time getting excited about local running store coupons (that I'll no doubt lose before I use) and some obscure sports drink powder packets.

But I was intrigued (and a little confused) by the concept of an iGiftBag, so I got a wee bit excited when this popped up in my inbox:
Once you open the iGiftBag, all of the goodies spin around and around and around - and frankly, I'm a little underwhelmed. There's a coupon for Dunkin' Donuts coffee, a contest to win gear from Pacers, racing tips from the Geico gecko (really?), a duffel bag from USAA (if you're willing to huff it to their office on Pentagon Row to pick it up) and some other coupons for restaurants and such.

So was the iGiftBag everything I hoped it would be and more? I guess, but my expectations were pretty low. Clearly goodie bags are an afterthought in this whole marathon business - I don't think there's anyone on the planet that runs 26.2 miles for the thrill of coupons. I am pretty excited for the MCM sponsors and all of the snacks along the course though - guess it's time I learn to love me some Gu.

Injury Makes Us Normal

I spent much of the weekend completely immersed in Born to Run, finally taking the time to read for myself how and why the barefoot running hype began. My brother, Mikey Doodle, sent me his copy in the mail, thinking I could maybe read a few excerpts here and there to get some last minute inspiration before the marathon. But when you take my lack of social life and add to that my trembling fear of next week's race, I pretty much knocked it out in a day (it's a delightfully easy read).

This is a book that no doubt sticks with you. It causes an internal struggle between wanting to drop everything to run 100 miles -and- the complete inability to put the book down and return to the real world. There are a few passages from Born to Run that I can't seem to shake, so I'll share a few this week for those that haven't read it or perhaps  are simply looking for some inspiration.

Pain. Pain has obviously been a big part of our training. We've dealt with a host of issues and we've incessantly blabbed about all of them on this blog. My IT Band-related knee pain is currently so debilitating that the finish line is an extremely blurry and idealistic concept to me. But Christopher McDougall's analysis of pain helped me put my own in perspective, and reminded me that I'm not alone... and it's time to suck it up:

"Take any other sport, and an injury rate like mine would classify me as defective. In running, it makes us normal. The real mutants are the runners who don't get injured. Up to eight out of every ten runners are hurt every year. It doesn't matter if you're heavy or thin, speedy or slow, a marathon champ or a weekend huffer, you're just as likely as the other guy to savage your knees, shins, hamstrings, hips or heels. Next time you line up for a Turkey Trot, look at the runners on your right and left: statistically, only one of you will be back for the Jingle Bell Jog."

Heartbreaking but true. Pain makes us normal - it's how we overcome the pain that sets us apart. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


*GULP* You guys, one friggin' week from today, from this very second (well the very second that the post posted) the gun will go off and we will be on our way to...making history? A certain slow and untimely demise? 4+ hour of misery? One of the greatest days of our lives? The greatest legal/natural high on earth? Well - we're not quite sure, verdict still out - but whatever it is, we're really looking forward to it and as of now...wait now, no riiiiggghhht NOW, we're super ready with the best attitude and we feel confident that our goals of finishing the race and having fun are within reach.

And guess what - you can watch it all go down, right here in our @ShoesFullofFeet twitter feed. You'll see as Liv + Sal each complete the 10K, 20K, 30K, and finally...40K distances. Oh the powers of Social Media.

We're actually not so sure this is the best idea - but you know what, we've been pretty dang honest with the inter-webs as this process has unfolded, so why stop now? And if you see our feed somehow magically disappear then I guess we cut out early, likely reason: distraction by mimosas.

If you have a runner you'd like to follow in the MCM, sign up here to receive text message alerts as you follow their progress. Or convince them to feed it directly to their Facebook page. We don't know yet if we have the courage for that level of full disclosure.

Tweet us on, we'll need it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dooce Does NYC

As previously stated, I LOVE blogs. There are so many blogs I follow and on such a variety of topics that it is truly hard to keep it all straight. I am sadly serious when I say I go out of town for one weekend and my reader will come up with >400 "while you were out" entries. It's become quite clear that I'm much better at reading other's blogs that I am at writing my own. I've decided my ideal career in this world would somehow involve reading and finding all of the really great blogs and entries and bringing them to the people. I'll point out the best stuff that's out there so you can get the highlights, the not to be missed, and the need to know. You guys...this is necessary, it's what I should be doing, not this accounting stuff (insert wah-wah pedal). I digress...

One of my favorite bloggers, Heather Armstrong of, is running the New York City Marathon just a week after we take the MCM by storm. Heather is oh so many things: a hilariously talented writer, ex-Mormon BYU grad, mom to two precious daughters and two photogenic dogs, Valedictorian of everything, a voice for those who have battled or are battling depression, etc. etc....and now a runner and you all should be reading her blog. She also follows the Paleo diet which, intrigues me because I think it's pretty spot-on with the way we were meant to nourish ourselves. She's just one of the many people inspiring me to jump on board...just as soon as I find the self-discipline and the time to figure it all out. (again with the digression, must stay on point)

So Heather only announced on her website that she would be running the NYC marathon in the middle of September, leaving only 50 or so days to train. I would be freaking out. But she is a machine, already in great shape and recently completed The Other Half Marathon in beautiful Moab Utah. Earlier this year she partnered with Christy Turlington Burns (yes the super model) and her non-profit organization Every Mother Counts on their trip to Bangladesh. Now Heather and their team of 9 are running for such a worthy cause.

Every day I look forward to what Heather has to say about her journey in training and her new found love/hate of running (she's picked up on the fact that it's a bi-polar relationship). Can't wait to follow her and the team as they take on NYC.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fabulous Footsy Fans

Admittedly, I've been a wee bit reluctant to encourage friends and family to come out on race day and cheer because... well... let's be honest... it might take me 6+ hours... if I'm able to finish at all. I really have no idea how things are going to go with my knee, and though I remain optimistic, I don't know what to expect.

But in true Baker form, they're coming anyway - and the closer and closer I get to race day, I'm so excited (and appreciative) to have their support. Even if I look like a hot, sweaty and miserable mess for 26.2 miles (which I will), it's incredibly encouraging to know they'll be waiting for me at the finish line (or maybe at a nearby bar if I take too long. (On second thought, this is probably the most likely scenario - which I fully support). 

This week, I received just about the most thoughtful care package a wannabe runner gal could wish for from one of my sweet bros...

Our friends and family have been fantastic since day one of this little venture. God knows we've blabbed and gushed and complained about this marathon for waaaaay longer than anyone ever should. We've made it a point to annoy just about everyone in our immediate surroundings, making sure that everyone (and I mean EVERYONE... including you, cyber friends) knows that, "No. We are not natural runners, but we're trying to be." And while we certainly encountered some confusion and doubt when we first broadcast our plans to run this thing, everyone came around and realized we meant business with this here blog. 

So a big thank you to all of you! Family, friends, co-workers, cyber buddies, mailman, Starbucks barista - we truly appreciate your listening ears and ongoing and going and going and going support. If it wasn't for you, I guaran-damn-tee you that I would've given up many, many moons ago.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On Repeat

Holy countdown batman! How did that little counter right there go from three digits (in the 300s no less) to single digits?! Time warp, that's the only possible answer.

It's a little late in the week for a Musical Monday - and let's face it, that's Sal's area of expertise. After all, most new music I like comes from her suggestions or I stumble upon via Pandora.

My marathon music plan is similar to hers: remove head phones in the parts of the course with heavy crowd support, but pop them in for inspiration and a pick-me up when necessary.

One song I know I'll be going to, probably more than once during the race, "My Body" by Young the Giant. It's quite clear that my body is going to be telling me "no" (more like screaming), but I won't quit*

I'd recommend it for any runner's playlist.

"It's my road" - 9 days homies!

*I will do my very very very very very best to not quit, come hell or high water (or death or injury).

Down the Hatch

In these final days before the race, the running and training is mostly behind us (at least in theory) and our focus is shifting to nutrition. Liv and I are both living at the office right now with hefty workloads, and for me, that usually means eating whatever is the most convenient [read: the Halloween candy jar that is 20 feet from my office], rather than choosing healthier options.

But let's get real. Yes, maybe Halloween is one of my very favorite times of year. And maybe I do live for free candy in delicious bite-sized portions. But if I can't suck it up and be smart about nutrition for the 9 remaining days until the marathon, then I really need to reevaluate my relationship with food. (Gulp. Nice self-induced guilt trip, eh?)

Herein lies the bigger issue: I'm a little clueless about what I should be eating in these final days. Lately, I've been using the MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone to better understand my nutritional intake, and it has taught me that I eat entirely too much sugar and not nearly enough protein. Shocker, I know. To quote the brilliant Jack Donaghy, "Thanks for telling me what I already know. You should work for the Huffington Post."

So I'm taking some pointers from No Meat Athlete. According to Matt (and Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichael), "carbohydrates are most important, followed by protein, followed by fat, which is of little use before a race." So... I reckon he's telling me to cool it on the miniature Reese's until after the marathon.

I wish I could claim that I'll be making all of No Meat Athlete's delicious recipes to properly fuel before the marathon, but that just ain't happening with my current schedule at work. Even so, I'll be more than happy to chow down on whatever pasta, bagels, candy and nutrition bars I can get my hands on.

Oh, and sugar addiction aside, you better believe I have a date with a giant bag of Halloween candy after I cross that finish line. Judge away. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10 Days and Counting

10... FRIGGIN'... DAYS. This morning we received the Final MCM Newsletter with all of the last minute details for race day and my stomach dropped about 3 feet. 

I've been in COMPLETE denial about this race for the past 3 weeks. My knees have given up on running altogether, so I've focused my efforts on elliptical training, stretching, and lots and lots and lots of foam rolling. 
Have you guys done any foam rolling? I currently have a love-hate relationship with that surprisingly effective contraption. It practically brings tears to my eyes every time I'm on it, but I can actually feel it stretching out my muscles and working out all of the tightness that could hold me back on race day. I'm hoping it will loosen up my IT band so that I can hobble along for more than 3 miles at a time. But only time will tell. [Full disclosure: I am completely awkward on the foam roller. There is not one graceful thing about it. Let's just say, it's a very good thing I live alone]

Woo hoo for 10 more days! (I had to force out that enthusiasm. My internal thoughts aren't quite as excited). Oh, and do you guys remember my BFF and blogging partner Liv? Me neither. Earth to Mrs. Champion! We're running a marathon in 10 days. Just sayin'....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Roll Toddy! Hotty Tide!

It's game day! Tis' the season when Liv + I are not exactly rooting for the same team (literally). And this day in particular (that would be Bama vs. Ole Miss for you SEC-challenged readers) is the one day of the year when my running partner and I shant speak at all. But in the spirit of good sportsmanship, I wish you all a Rooooooooooooooooooooll Toddy and a Hotty Tide!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Marathon Music

Holy smokes we're in the 'teens! Just a mere 19 days away from embarking on 26.2 miles of misery long-awaited adventure. So here's a question for you: to run or not to run with an ipod?

It's perfectly understandable that some would consider it rude for runners to trot along with their ipods. After all, hordes of folks have trekked out to the sidelines to yell and cheer the runners on, and there they go, just a'boppin' along to their Lady Gaga without a care in the world. 

But at the same time, a marathon is a looooooong time to run. Anyway you bend it, there will be moments along the race when high-fiving a 5-year old on the sidelines just isn't enough to keep you going. A little jolt of some upbeat tunes is oftentimes the only way I can carry on. 

So... to each his own, I reckon. For me, I'll be tuning in to my TBD (input needed!!) marathon playlist. But only at points along the course when the audience is sparse (or completely non-existent around Hains Point), and when I absolutely need that extra push. 

Now comes the most important question: what tunes pump you up? We're working on the ultimate running playlist, compiling all of the best tunes from past Musical Mondays along with recommendations from our friends and readers. Send us your favorite running songs by commenting below and we'll pull together the Ultimate Marathon Playlist (I said that in a very dramatic voice in my head). 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weak in the Knees

I can hear it now... handfuls of expert runners and coaches shaking their heads and grumbling, "Told you so." When Liv + I first started this running venture, we were told time and time again how important it is to work with a coach or a team or basically anyone that knew a little something about marathon training so we didn't end up injuring ourselves. And did we listen? Of course not. After all, we're invincible. 

So here we are, just weeks before the big race, with only one pair of good knees between the two of us. Liv struggled with Runner's Knee (ITBS) a while back. She went to the doc and did lots of RICEing, and for the most part, has worked past the pain and is hanging in there pretty strong. 

Just recently, I started feeling pain on the outside of my knee, too. I didn't recognize all of the warning signs that I should have, so I kept thinking the pain would eventually just go away. But my runs kept getting cut shorter and shorter, until yesterday, my stride came to a complete halt around mile 3. I limped all the way to my running shop, hobbled up the stairs, stopped in the middle of the store and said, "I need help."

Thankfully, the team at the Running Company in Georgetown is full of rock stars. I pointed to the pain and they identified everything I've experienced. They answered my number one question which was, "Am I doing long term damage to my knee by trying to run through the pain?" Not only did they give me the answer I was looking for, but they made me feel better about not being able to knock out my 20 mile run yesterday. The gal that helped me also coaches real marathoners (as in, people that actually know what they're doing and finish in under 3 hours), and she promised me that doing a second 20 mile run was mainly for mental purposes anyway. She explained that I'm better off RICEing, foam rolling and banging out a couple more 8 - 10 milers before the race (which I'm happy to oblige).

How did I get myself in this position? No doubt because I increased mileage too quickly. I thought I'd be fine half-assing the weekday training and catching up on the weekends with my long runs. As a result, I did way more than my body (namely, my IT band) was prepared for, so here I am. 

Race day was already going to be ugly. Now, it's going to be just plain hideous. But what can you do? Maybe I'll get a Rudy-like chant from the audience to push me across the finish line once it gets dark. "SALLY! SALLY! SALLY! SALLY!" I can hear it already. Let's do this, knee.