Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

So, I’ve been lying to you. Well, just a little. (Which begs the question, is there really such thing as a little lie?) Anyway, I haven’t told you the whole truth. Which starts with, I didn’t run the SLO Marathon yesterday.

SLO Recap

Before I get to that though, I want to congratulate Tina Muir, who ran the London Marathon on Sunday. She sweetly emailed me on Saturday to wish me luck, commenting that we have both worked so hard for this. While this is true, I have to laugh because Tina, who ran 2:41:19 (!!!!), was so kind as to think of me, who would have been about two hours behind her.

Why this isn’t a SLO Marathon Race Recap

Back to my story. I pretty much knew by last Wednesday that I wasn’t going to be able to run the SLO Marathon. I was in denial though. I really had worked hard for this. While I’d had a hard time getting my total mileage up where I wanted it, I had done the workouts. My long runs had gone well for the most part, at least until a couple weeks ago when I’d developed some exercise induced asthma issues. I did my tempo runs, marathon pace runs, and even hill workouts. I’m in good shape.

The asthma had given me some doubts though. After the incident two weeks ago it took me most of the day to recover! What would I do if it happened during the marathon? I’ve pushed through in the past, but do I have it in me to do it still? Do I even want to? Strike one.

Then Alan and I made the decision that I would go alone. I’ve told you before about Goldie, our handicapped dog. We really don’t want to leave her in the care of a dog sitter. We just don’t trust anyone enough to clean her, change her diaper, and to be there in case anything happens. Heck, sometimes she gets stuck in the dog door when we’re home, though we release her quickly. What if the sitter wasn’t there for a couple hours? We are both resigned to the idea that, for the rest of Goldie’s life our travel will be limited.

Anyway, that meant that I would have to drive to San Luis Obispo by myself, run a marathon, then drive home afterward. Um, that’s about five hours in each direction. Strike two.

I still didn’t want to let go of the dream though. There must be some way, right? I even would have invited Christina, my running partner and neighbor, but she was out of town at a wedding for the weekend.

Then last Wednesday I ran five miles, moderate pace, with a couple bursts of marathon pace. About halfway through my run I felt a weird pain in my mid-back that actually made me stop for a moment. It went away when I stopped but returned when I ran again. I made it home, but through the rest of the day I had twinges, now in my low back and right hip.

When I woke up on Thursday morning I knew right away that my marathon probably wasn’t going to happen. The pain was still in my low back and hip, with occasional random spasms just to keep me on my toes. I could hardly walk, let alone think about running 26.2 miles!

Strike three and I’m out.

I still held on until Friday morning to make the decision. My back was a little better, so I gave myself a little hope, but my wiser side took over. Back pain + 5 hour drive + marathon = Bad idea.

So, I stayed home, wished my follow SLO Marathon Ambassadors good luck, and didn’t run a step all weekend. I did, however, get to spend some time with this guy:

Samuel

Yes! If anything could make me feel better about staying home and missing my marathon it was having Samuel and his parents visit us! I took tons of pictures, but since he’s in action all the time most of them were blurry! Here are a few when he was still for a moment.

Samuel 6I don’t think Samuel realizes how honored he should be to get Coco kisses. She usually delivers them to Alan and me in the middle of the night.

Samuel 4It’s hard to explain to a two year old about handicapped dogs, but Samuel seemed to have a connection with Goldie. We just had to make sure that he didn’t sit on her.

Samuel 2Penny is obviously a good sport. She’s not used to kids but was very patient with Samuel. He is used to Chloe, their young Australian Shepherd, who puts up with all his antics.

Samuel 3Grandpa was happy that someone finally wanted to play with the finger lights he bought at Christmas!

Samuel 5Since both his parents wear glasses, Samuel thinks they’re pretty cool (the glasses, not sure about the parents). So when he found an old pair of readers lying around he thought that he was pretty cool too.

Samuel 7Nathan and Sarah just purchased a brand new Ford Fusion. On a recent trip to Orange County my son got over 90 mph! It’s a nice looking car too.

Samuel 8We went to lunch at PF Changs. I ordered the Vegetable Lettuce Wraps and Alan wanted the Buddha’s Feast, at least until he saw all the broccoli that it came with. So we traded dishes and I got my broccoli ration for the week.

Samuel 10Grandson selfie!

Samuel 9I was sad that this picture turned out a little blurry thanks to trying to hold Samuel still with one hand and take a picture with the other. Still, they look awfully cute, don’t they? Their daughter (my granddaughter!!!) Emma Marie is due on September 2.

We had a great time and I was able to forget my failure missing the marathon for a while. And the good news is, my back is feeling much better. I’ll probably try a little run on Tuesday. I’d like to hold onto some of this fitness I have right now. I might convince Christina that a semi-local half marathon might be just the thing for May!

In other adventures, did you see my Instagram post the other day? The consensus was that this is a king snake. What do you think?

 

Anybody know what kind of snake this is? Not dangerous I hope! #snake #snakes #snakesofinstagram

A video posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

Thank you to all of you who wished me well, supported me and had faith in my efforts. I’m sorry that I couldn’t live up to your (or my) expectations. I promise to share the links to some of the SLO Marathon recaps so we can all see what I missed. And don’t miss Tina’s recap. She was really happy and excited about her experience and I can’t wait to read all about it.

How was your weekend? Any races, events, or family adventures? Let’s hear about it!

Race Day Tips for a Successful Marathon

With only four more days until the SLO Marathon it seems appropriate to talk about race day. While much of training focuses preparing to run 26.2 miles it is important to have a race day plan too. After all, you’ve just spent anywhere from four to six months in an intensive effort to run a successful marathon. You had a training plan, followed it, did all your workouts, you’ve tapered, and now you are ready to go. Having a plan for marathon day is essential too.

Whether this is your first marathon or your 37th it is a good idea to remind yourself of these simple race day tips.

Race-Day-Tips

Eat Breakfast

Try to eat a moderate breakfast two or three hours before the race. You need to top off your tank with easily digestible foods (that you have hopefully tried during your training) like oatmeal, bananas, cereals, yogurt, or toast. Drink water or a sports drink throughout the morning, all the way up until the race starts.

Nothing New on Race Day

Your training has been like a three or four month long dress rehearsal for your big day. Over that time, you’ve found the right combination of nutrition and hydration, as well as the right shoes, clothing, even socks. Don’t mess around with success on race day by wearing the cute top that you bought at the expo, or using the gel that is being given away on the course (unless you’ve been training with it). While new shoes are a great idea for the race, take them for a spin or two before the event, even if they are they same model as your old ones. Stick with your tried and true pre-run meal, which can be a little difficult if you traveled to an event, so make sure to plan ahead.

Logistics

You do not want to be sitting in traffic trying to exit the freeway as the gun goes off. Plan ahead to get to the venue early. Check out the race website for information about parking, shuttles, clothing drops, etc. Depending upon the size of the race, there may be long lines to use the portable toilets, so it is a good idea to head there right away. Drop off your clothing bag and get to your corral at least 15 minutes early. Better to stand around waiting a little while than try to squeeze in when it is full. If the weather is cold, stay warm with a throwaway shirt that can be tossed after you warm up. If the weather is damp or rainy, a trash bag makes a great poncho to keep you dry while you’re waiting to get started.

Start Slow

No matter how many marathons you have run, this may be the hardest advice to adhere to. The excitement of the moment, being surrounded with other excited runners, sometimes even a downhill start of the course all conspire to make you start out too fast. There’s no such thing as time in the bank. Getting more miles in at a faster pace is not going to help you finish your marathon faster. In fact, it will probably backfire, you will over extend yourself, use up crucial energy and fuel, and your time may very well be slower than you planned. Start out at your goal pace or even slightly slower. This will allow you to conserve both your energy and your fuel, enabling you to keep the pace during that last 10k.

Have a nutrition plan and stick to it

I will admit it. I made a huge nutrition mistake in what turned out to be my PR marathon. The thing is, I should have run that race five or even 10 minutes faster than I actually did! I have always had issues with fueling and nausea during the marathon, and during that race I was feeling so good I didn’t want to mess it up by ingesting anything. So, beyond water and the carbohydrate drink I was carrying I didn’t eat anything. So what happened? Well, at mile 20, I was on pace for a 3:10 finish, and I bonked so hard I could barely sustain an 8-8:30 pace for the last six miles. I ended up running 3:16 in that race, a good time to be sure, but, after losing about a minute a mile over the last 10k, I learned a painful lesson.

St. George

I was carrying gels in that amphipod. I just didn’t use them.

The point is, you have been practicing your nutrition throughout your training, you have a pretty good idea what works, so, make a plan before the race and stick with it.

Don’t wear headphones

Don’t shoot me! I know that music lovers everywhere are saying “What???!!! I can’t run without my music!” Wait a moment and just listen to my reasoning.

You are about to embark on one of the most life changing excursions of your life. You will have to reach deep inside of yourself, use everything you’ve got, including all your mental strength, to stay the course, and to be successful in your endeavor. Having music playing in your ear, while it may give you a beat to run to, will distract you from all of that. While you may say that distraction is a good thing, it really is not if you want to produce your best effort.

On the other hand, if you are running to have fun and “just finish,” why cut off half of the experience by not communicating with the other athletes that are sharing this moment with you? I have met some amazing people during a marathon, something that would never happen if I cut myself off from them by wearing headphones.

The Last 6.2 Miles

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “There are two halves to the marathon: the first 20 and the last 6.2,” and that is true to a certain extent. That last 10k can really grind you into the ground. But, if you have followed the advice above, fueled correctly, and moderated your pace, you will have a much stronger finish. Some other ideas to keep you going strong: Break the distance down into smaller chunks. Think about a great two mile run that you enjoy; Think minutes instead of miles. Four or five minutes may sound better than a half mile; If you’re really feeling like you have to slow down, try instead to pick up the pace for a short distance. That little change can refresh your legs; Take one mile at a time; Positive self talk. Be your own cheerleader.

Have Fun

This is the culmination of months of hard work. Cherish the moment. Talk to other runners. Give high fives to the kids on the sidelines. Smile for the cameras. Thank the volunteers. Enjoy the scenery. Appreciate the body, however tired and sore, that has brought you this far.

What race day tips would you like to add?

Originally posted on Live from La Quinta, May 2014.

Training Recap (6 days until SLO Marathon!)

The important stuff first. I’m happy to announce that the winner of Dinner for Two and a bottle of wine at Mitch’s on El Paseo is Denise L! Congratulations! I know you’ll enjoy it.

Also good luck to all of the runners at the Boston Marathon today! I have many blogging friends doing the race and I’ll be trying to sneak an occasional peak at the live feed this morning at work. The forecast is for rain, but as I told Angela, the gods frequently smile on the Boston Marathon and send a sunny day along. If not, it will still be the experience of a lifetime.

Well, six day left until the SLO Marathon and everything is, well, not perfect. I’m still getting my workouts in (hurray for the taper!), but suddenly my knee is bothering me a little, and the asthma/dizzy issue I spoke about last week is still a concern. I’ve not had another incident like I had during my long run last week, but I frequently feel right on the verge, like if I push or go too far I might go right over the edge. Worrisome.

Training Recap

Last Wednesday was my last speed workout. Christina and I ran five miles a little faster than my marathon pace. All went well.

Long Run 3

After my tempo run. Needed to get the frog in the picture :-)

Saturday I ran eight miles with Alan and Christina. It should have felt easy and short after all my long runs, but as I mentioned, I’ve been feeling on the edge. I got it done though.

Long Run 2On Sunday I headed out alone for five miles on the trails. I love having a running partner, but sometimes I need to get out by myself. I took it easy, stopped for pictures, and felt good throughout. Now the final countdown to the race, and maybe some big decisions.

Trail Run 3

It’s not easy to take a picture of your shadow running.

Trail Run

Trail Run 2

Coachella boys

This one was pretty weird. As I was running I heard the sound of voices. Now this was about 7:30 on a Sunday morning and the voices sounded, well, they sounded drunk. I saw these guys down below the trail, singing and yelling. I kind of assumed they were refugees from Coachella, which is just a few miles away. I guess the camping is cheaper up in the La Quinta cove. I took a little detour, not wanting to deal with drunken revelers at that point in time.

And the Other Stuff

Kind of a boring week, at least in terms of writing something you’d want to read about. There was this, in case you missed it:

Its a girlYes, we’re going to have a granddaughter! After two sons, two stepsons, and three grandsons, we’re ready for a little pink in the family! On that note, I happened to wander into Target over the weekend.

DecisionsAnd I went for…

Baby Girl 2I was also curiously drawn to these:

Baby Girl 3But resisted the urge. They are, after all, toddler sizes.

Baby Girl 4

#Cutie. Let’s get her started on social media early.

Cactus FlowersSpring in the desert means the cactus is blooming.

And just a couple #dogpics:

Penny

My 14 year old Dalmatian can still get silly.

Johnny 2

And Johnny always finds ever cuter ways to sleep.

And some vegan food.

Mandarin SaladMandarin orange “chicken” salad. Easy and delicious. Here’s the recipe.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Any races, competitions, or other awesome experiences you’d like to share? Will you (are you, did you) watch the Boston Marathon? Go Meb!

Pin It Party V7

pin-it-party

It’s that time again! Another Pin It Party is coming at you! Lindsay, over at the Lean Green Bean, I, and a lot of other bloggers will be sharing some of our favorite pinnable posts from the last few months! Make sure to check out Lindsay’s post, where you will also find a list of all the participating bloggers, and start reading (and pinning) away! While you’re at it, why don’t you follow me on Pinterest! Party on!

Train Smarter: 5 Ways to PR Running 3 Days a Week

Race PRHave limited time? Don’t we all? Here are some tips to get that PR running three days a week.

12 Running Myths You May Still Believe

Running MythsDo you still think running is bad for your knees? It’s time to banish this and other running myths.

Vegan “Tuna” Salad with Jackfruit, Avocado and Quinoa

Jackfruit Tuna 4Have you tried Jackfruit? It is sometimes called the Vegetable Meat, and is a delicious, non-processed, meat alternative. Here is an easy Tuna-less salad to try.

Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Lentil Cakes7These Lentil cakes are delicious and easy to make. And the riata is out of this world!

The Top 5 Marathon Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Marathon MistakesWhether you’re training for your first or your 50th, here are some potential mistakes to avoid in your next marathon.

If you missed the previous Pin It Parties, and want to check out the favorite posts that I shared, here they are:

Pin It Party 1
Pin It Party 2
Pin It Party 3
Pin It Party 4
Pin It Party 5
Pin It Party 6

I hope you found something worth pinning (and reading) today! There is still time to join the party! Here is the link to Lindsay’s original post with directions and the Pin Party graphic. Then you can join the party and share your own link here. Or you can share one of your favorite posts in the comments.

Recap: The Week in Training and Life

Countdown to the SLO Marathon

(Still haven’t signed up? Click here and use the code WOODAMB at checkout to save $10)

SLO Marathon

The countdown to the SLO Marathon has begun! In less than four weeks I will be in San Luis Obispo at the start line of my 37th marathon. Will I be ready? Yes! Will I be able to rock the race as I’d planned? Um, maybe.

If you’ve followed my training recaps you know that life has interfered a lot in my training plan. While my long runs have been pretty much on target, my mid-week training has not been what it should. I’ve been getting in some of the planned speed work, but my efforts to get my total weekly mileage up where I’d like it have not been very successful. Last week I managed for the first time to get over 30 miles. This week, a long run cut-back week, I just barely managed 28 miles.

So to look at the big picture, and to stop whining about things I can’t change, I will have an okay race. Not great, but, barring any severe exercise induced asthma issues, I’ll be fine. And I still have two weeks before I start my taper, so I have hopes for these next two peak training weeks.

This week I got all my planned training runs done {high five!}. On Monday I was out the door at 5:15 in the morning. After a one mile warmup I did four half mile intervals on the road followed by two quarter mile repeats. I was running out of time, so I couldn’t get the three miles total in intervals that I wanted, but I’m happy with that.

morning run 2It was barely getting light when I finished my interval workout on Monday. Can you see the old man in the mountain in the picture below?

Morning run 3On Wednesday I ran a total of six miles, with three miles at half marathon pace. I ran with my neighbor Christina, and we got going at 5:15. I’m not crazy about running alone so early, so I was happy to have a running partner.

As I mentioned it was a cut-back week for my long run this week. I had 15 on the schedule with four miles at marathon pace in the middle of the run. Christina ran with me for most of it, and we did manage to run miles 5-9 at my goal marathon pace, which is about 10 minutes per mile. At that pace it’s not like I was sprinting, but I still found it challenging (which I have to admit concerns me at this late point in training). Anyway, I got it done. After I split off from Christina I had about four more mile to run, but I was really dragging, so I ended up finishing with 14 miles for the day.

ChristinaAlan’s hamstring is bothering him, so we didn’t do our normal dog run on Sunday. Instead I ran four slow recovery miles on my own, choosing perhaps the most challenging route, which is a big loop around our neighborhood that finishes all uphill for the second half. Oh well, I got it done, and took a few photo breaks so I survived.

Recovery 3Pretty, huh? You wouldn’t guess that the day was going to heat up to about 100 degrees (on March 29!!!!).

The Life Recap

I’m not really sure why I’m including a life recap this week since it was generally pretty boring. Alan was away for a few days visiting our twin grandsons in Huntington Beach and cheering them on at the Jogathon at their school. Cash managed 31 laps in 30 minutes! I think this put him in second place overall.

CashAlan also went to their baseball game where both boys had some great plays. They all also played baseball with grandpa, rode bikes together, and of course, went to the beach (it was in the mid-80s!).

DaneMeanwhile, I stayed home to work. I also have been having afternoon headaches this week, which sucks. Unusual for me, they come on in the early afternoon, send me to bed for a couple hours, then seem to go away by early evening. I think it is because I recently got back on my hormones (Obamacare finally kicked in!), and my body is adapting. I’ll have it checked if I’m still having problems next week, but the last couple days seems a little bit better.

I did drag myself out on Thursday to see Cinderella with Christina. More on that tomorrow, but I will say that I loved it. I was fighting the stupid headache through the whole movie though, so I may just have to see it again when I feel better.

Pizza!

The food was pretty boring while Alan was gone. Between having only myself to cook for and not feeling good I kept it simple. Leftovers for the win! Also my favorite comfort food when I don’t feel good: a baked potato with salt and (vegan) butter. Not sure why this makes me feel better, but it’s been my go-to since I was very young.

Alan got home on Saturday and I was feeling pretty good so I made a pesto pizza. It was really, really, really good.

Pizza 2And worth a second look.

PizzaI have a 22 mile run on the schedule for next Saturday. I’ve been fighting a lot of doubts throughout this training cycle, so I admit that I’m fearing this distance. I’ll have to get a really early start too because I don’t think the weather is going to cool off very much.

Coming up on the blog this week I’ll have a comparative review of Cinderella 1965 vs. 2015, a great giveaway for desert locals, and the return of the Pin It Party with Lindsay and many other bloggers.

And finally, here’s something to make you smile:


How was your training week? Any events, races, or other fun times? Want to join the Pin It Party (it’s on Thursday if you’d like to participate)?

So You Say You Hate Exercise

Time for a little tough love.

I didn’t become a personal trainer for the huge amount of money I could make. Not for the fame and glory that I could achieve. Nope, I became a personal trainer because I believe in fitness. How much better our lives are if we exercise.

Which is good because there hasn’t been a whole lot of money, fame, or glory involved. But I do know I’ve changed a few lives, so that’s a pretty good trade-off.

There is one thing I’ve grown pretty tired of hearing though, not just from (a few) of my clients, but from non-exercisers in general. The random people who come to the gym, friends of clients, even other bloggers (!). They will walk in, look disdainfully around at the equipment, the members sweating, the trainers demonstrating, and say, often haughtily (like this makes them special in some way), “I hate exercise.”

I used to consider this a challenge. I could take this person, create a program for them, find something that they do enjoy, and they would become lifelong exercisers. Barring that, I could at least make them like me enough to enjoy the time we spent together training.

The problem with the former goal is that it rarely happens. They stick to a program for a while, complain a lot, start to find excuses, then disappear from the face of the earth the gym forever. Or at least until next New Years.

The latter solution isn’t perfect either. There is a large segment of the population who won’t hire a personal trainer, so I’m missing a large part of the target audience. And while I do have a few clients who train with me because they enjoy my company, they would rather chat than work out, and they are terrible at adhering to the other parts of a fitness program normally done on one’s own, like cardio and proper nutrition.

I’m tired of sugarcoating exercise, of trying to make everyone happy, of spending my valuable time convincing you to enjoy doing something that will make you feel better, live longer, play stronger, and generally have a better life. So, to that end my new mantra is…

Buttercup

Suck it Up, Buttercup

Who ever said that everything that you do in life had to be fun? We, all of us, do many things daily that we don’t really enjoy. Do you like brushing your teeth? Cleaning the litter box? Scrubbing the toilet? Do you do it? Yes, because not to do it would leave you in a stinky place.

Even if you enjoy your job, you don’t always like it. But you do it because, you know, money. You clean your house, mow your lawn, help your kid with homework you may not understand yourself. Fun? Not really.

You do all of these things because, well, you have to, need to, are compelled to, whatever. For the most part, you don’t do them because you like them. You may even hate them.

If you spend a half hour three days a week lifting weights, or some other form of strength building exercise, and take a little time for a walk most days of the week, you can receive benefits way beyond having a clean litter box. You can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. You can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and osteoporosis. You can avoid the pain of many joint diseases, improve your balance and posture, and general overall health. You will feel better. You will look better.

look better

All of this for only two or three hours a week. Many people spend that much time a night watching television.

So suck it up, buttercup. Just get out there and do it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. You need it. It’s important. There are many resources available if you are new to exercise and need a little help getting started. You can contact me if you have question, either in the comments or from my contact page.

Who knows. You might even begin to like it. A little.

Love your health

 

To all my regular readers. You probably realize that I’m not speaking to you. I know that most of you either love to work out or have come to terms with its importance. But, you may have, as I do, friends, acquaintances, family, that sprinkle the “I hate exercise” line into your regular conversations. Now you have something to answer with.