Saying Goodbye

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Today was the last day I will spend at my childhood home. The past couple days have been filled with lots of packing, lots of boxes, and somewhere in there I managed to squeeze in my workouts.

My parents have lived in the house for 26 years and that’s the only home I’ve ever known. Somehow my parents managed to keep our home in Jericho while my dad would have a VERY long commute. Now that all of us kids are out of the home, my parents decided to live closer.

I’m so thankful that I got to grow up in the community that I did. I went to some great schools, made some awesome friends, and overall had a great childhood. I can’t imagine myself growing up anywhere else.

From a running perspective, it’s sad to know that I had my last real runs there. Of course I still have friends that live in the area, so I’m sure I’ll run some of the old routes again. Plus, the college I’m at is only a half hour away. However, it’ll be the last time I get to run on MY roads in MY town from MY house. I know those roads so well – hill sprints up Schillhammer, fartleks on Lee River, horn drills at Mills, summer runs on my trails, and the infamous pain loop (it’s super hilly). I’ve memorized all the twists and turns of the roads and know where the pot holes are that runners need to be wary of as to not get a sprained ankle. I have so many fond memories from all those runs – adventure runs to Narnia, getting hives at Mills because I ran through a field, getting lost in the woods on the Bolger Hill loop, doing a track workout in the middle of a snow storm in April, etc. The list goes on and on.

racing at Mills in middle school

racing at Mills in middle school

getting hives from running through a field at Mills

getting hives from running through a field at Mills

snowing in mid-April. WTF?

snowing in mid-April. WTF? The weather better warm up this year or else we’ll be in the same predicament.

I had this whole plan of taking some pretty pictures during my long run today of all my old routes. However, Mother Nature decided that that wasn’t going to happen – it was spitting rain/wind and cloudy all day. I guess that made it easier to say goodbye. If it was a sunny summer day I would probably be feeling sadder.

Here are some previous pictures I’ve taken on my runs.

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running on my trails up in back

running on my trails up in back

my track

running on my track

Although I’m feeling a little melancholy about the move, I’m excited for what’s next. I’ll be spending the summer in Boston and am super excited! I will be pretty close to the Charles River, which has a great bike path for running on. Plus, there is a track a mile away (the perfect warm up). As an added bonus, there are soooooo many more races in Massachusetts than there are in Vermont. I remember trying to look up summer races in VT and there might be a few, but oftentimes they will be pretty far away. In Boston alone, though, there will be way more to choose from that are within a half hour of where we live. Awesomeness!

What are some of your favorite old running routes/memories? 

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My Race is WHEN?!?!

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Sometimes I get too caught up in my training and what’s going on in the now that I forget the bigger picture. Most of the time I only know what my workout is for that day. I might know how many miles my long run is for the week or what the total mileage is going to be, but most of the time I just take it day by day. I think about the anatomy test I have the next day or the interval workout I will do in the afternoon – I don’t think in weeks or months.

In some ways this can be helpful. When I first wrote out my marathon-training schedule I was terrified of the weeks towards the end. How on earth was I going to run 20 miles after doing 2 or 3 speed sessions that week? Now that I’m getting closer to those weeks they don’t seem so scary because I took baby steps to get there. 14 miles, 15, 17, 19, makes 20 not seem so bad.

Today is March 27th – that makes it 16 more days until my half marathon and only 45 days until my first full marathon. SAY WHAT? That is what I call terrifying. I’ve been so focused on the now that my races have really crept up on me.

May 11th here I come!

May 11th here I come!

I think it’s partly because for the past two weeks I’ve been dealing with a sore ankle. Remember that stupid chair I hit my ankle on? Well, that idiot injury didn’t go away too quickly. I managed to make the area all inflamed and got some scar tissue around it. After going to PT I think things are finally headed in the right direction. It doesn’t hurt to walk anymore and I was able to do a tempo workout with minimal pain today. Last week when I did that workout I didn’t feel the pain until I stopped and then ended up limping the last mile back to my dorm. Ugh.

Now that I’m back on track I’m feeling a little bit scared and slightly in shock about how close my races are. I think after another solid week of training I’ll be feeling more confident. Now if spring can just catch up. Parts of my favorite running routes are still covered in icy snow.

my poor bike path! Where's  the path again?

my poor bike path! Where’s the path again?

Does this happen to anyone else? Do you ever forget to think about the big picture?

Dumb*ss Injuries

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You know those injuries that happen when you’re being just plain stupid? The injuries that could have definitely been avoided? Like not looking where you’re going and running into a pole? Or stepping on a rake and having it hit you square in the face. 

Well, I had one of those moments last week. Wednesday evening I somehow managed to kick my ankle into the edge of my chair. The chairs in my dorm room can kind of rock back and when they do so there is a sharp edge towards the front on either side. I think I was going to get up from my chair and wasn’t paying much attention. The funny thing is that it didn’t even hurt that much. I didn’t put any ice on it or take ibuprofen because I didn’t think it was a big deal.

The next day we got dumped with another big snowstorm (don’t get me started on how ridiculous that is). I think I aggravated my ankle more by trying to walk to the gym in all the snow. The uneven footing probably didn’t help.

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the view from my dorm

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When is spring coming again?

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soooo much snow!

Turns out kicking my chair left me with an itty bitty bruise and a pretty sore ankle. Luckily, I think it’s finally getting better. I had to miss a few days of running, but nothing too bad.

Have you ever had any stupid injuries? Leave your story in the comments.

Patience

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is not one of my virtues. I want things to happen quickly and I hate waiting to see results. However, patience is essential for distance running. You have to be patient to see improvement – things don’t change overnight. You oftentimes need patience to run a smart tactical race. Blowing out of the start is oftentimes not the right way to race.

I’m learning so much training for my first marathon. The biggest thing that I keep reminding myself is to be patient. I have to remind myself to actually take my easy days easy. I have to remind myself to keep the right pace on my marathon-paced runs and not get carried away. I have to be patient on my long runs and realize that they do take a loooong time. I have to stick to my training plan and not do too much too soon.

The biggest thing that I need to be patient for is adjusting to new races. I always get a kick out of using race conversions to see what marathon time I should be able to run. For instance, my race conversion for my 5k PR is quite a bit faster than my half marathon PR conversion. However, I need to remember that I’ve run zillions of 5k’s and only a few half marathons. I ran 5k’s all through cross-country in high school, plenty of 5k’s over the summers, and a few since I graduated high school. I’ve spent tons of time perfecting my race strategy and finding my limits, and I still think I have room to improve! I shouldn’t be able to run my 5k PR converted into marathon time on the first try (it would be awesome if I did!). However, it would be pretty unlikely.

The marathon is not a sprint… obviously! That’s why it’s called a marathon. I’ve heard that the best strategy is to go out slower than your goal pace and negative split the second half of the race. I know that will probably be a bit difficult for me, but I’m going to do my best to make that happen. After all, it’s much better to feel good passing people at the end than to blow up before the finish line.

In other news…

My friend and I got the spot for the Vermont City Marathon! Yippee! Our team name is officially the Sassy Sophomores. We split the race two years ago when we were in high school and were the Sassy Seniors, so we felt the need to stick along the lines of the original

I also got a distance PR this past weekend – 19 miles! I’m having a hard time fathoming how long that was. It definitely helped that I had two awesome people to run it with! It’s amazing how much it helps to have someone with you.

Are you good at being patient or do you find it pretty hard?

THE LONG RUN

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A core part of almost every marathon-training program involves some sort of long run. Since the actual race distance is 26.2 miles it makes sense that you should practice running long to prepare for the race. Although there are a variety of different training programs, almost all agree on one thing – the long run is important. It is important physically, but also mentally.

For many people the long run occurs on Sunday. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but I assume it’s because there is more time for most working people on the weekends and long runs definitely take a LOT of time. That, plus people probably want to keep traditions. Sunday long runs are kind of a thing for most runners. Most training programs have the long runs scheduled for Sundays after all.

In Hal Higdon’s book “Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide” he describes the long run as a kind of “dress rehearsal.” It’s the practice test that teachers give out before the actual exam to see how prepared you are. It gives potential marathoners time to practice the important skills that will be necessary during the actual race. For instance, it’s important to know how to take fluids, food, maintain your mental strength, find out what clothes you should wear in the race, get used to being out there for so long, and build confidence.

Types of Long Runs

With a variety of different training programs come a variety of different types of long runs. There is the “steady” paced long run, also known as running “long and slow.” In Hal Higdon’s book he says it should be run “30 to 90 seconds per mile (or more) slower than the pace per mile you expect to run in the marathon.” Other long runs are supposed to be run at marathon goal pace or have part of the run at marathon goal pace. Fast finish long runs involve starting out slower and gradually speeding up to finish the run at marathon goal pace.

My Long Runs

Today marks the longest run that I’ve ever accomplished – 17 miles. Woot! Woot! That’s a looooooong time.

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The training program that I’m following involves doing a marathon paced run on Saturdays with the long run on Sunday. Yesterday I did 8 miles at my goal marathon pace followed by the 17 miles easy-paced today. The biggest thing I need to work on is not going too fast. It’s so easy for me to get carried away. All of a sudden I’ll look at my GPS watch and realize I’m running way too fast. I do not want to make that mistake in the marathon, as it could really be detrimental.

I’m hoping to run my marathon somewhere around the vicinity of 3.5 hours. There’s so much room for error, but as my good friend from running club pointed out, “There’s also so much room for things to go right.” I like that! I think I’ll try to look on the brighter side.

Here are a few pictures from my runs the past two days.

Do you like the long run? What type of long run do you prefer? Do you run long on Sundays or another day?

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