1/2 Marathon training- longest run yet!

Last weekend I ran the longest I have ever run in my life- 11.3 miles. Wow. My fiancée thinks I am crazy. Especially since it was really hot and sunny outside. I feel like running in the fall is more my thing, but I am signed up for a 1/2 marathon July 22nd and am not backing out at this point.

At our Gatorade office in Chicago, we have annual goals that we publicly state to everyone at a “State Your Goal” day and we also have them posted in our offices/cubicles for everyone to see. Running my 1st 1/2 marathon is one of my goals. I am glad I didn’t put the time I wanted to run (2hrs or less or about 9 min miles). I had always been a little annoyed when people talk about “running” marathons when they do 15 min miles. I mean, that is walking. So….I was opening my big mouth about doing it in 2 hrs and now I am not thinking that is doable, especially in the heat in July. So to make my goal, all I have to do is finish, but I still want to do 10 min miles or about 2 hrs and 10 mins. There, I have stated it as a goal. Just not at work with all of my super-fit colleagues.

I ran the 11.3 miles averaging about 10 min miles including 2 Gatorade stops. Buying Gatorade at North Ave beach is not cheap but it was worth it to remain upright. I also stopped at a few water fountains along the way and nearly dunked my head in it. So gross but necessary.

I felt good but tired afterwards. I had a fabulous tour of Chicago along the lake. Go to http://www.mapmyrun.com if you want a similar route. The good thing about my training is that I am not injured or sore. Except for the tummy thing last time, I am very healthy with my running.

I have 3 weeks until the race and this week is the 4th of July and I have the week off of work. My plan is to run a short and long run this week and then start my “no wine” detox for the 1-2 weeks before the race. What a trooper I am. We will see how that goes. Notice how I am vague about the length of time (“1-2 wks”). I guess you could say that I know my limitations…..

Advertisements

1/2 marathon training – 6 weeks to go

I am preparing for my first 1/2 marathon on July 22.  Up to this point, I have officially run a 15K (9.36 mi) and a few 5K and 10K races.  Even with this running behind me, I am finding out there is always something new to learn.

My current issue: running in the hot weather with the sun beating down on me.  To further expand on that issue, I am getting overheated (headache and dizzy) and (ahem) getting an upset tummy, which I shouldn’t have to tell you is not pleasant when you are outside with not a port-a-potty in sight.

My training schedule has me running 2-3x per week with cross-training.  I did not choose to do the training plan that calls for running 5x per week, that is really too much for me. I am very concerned about getting injured so I am a big proponent of cross-training.   I do kick-boxing and boot camp classes 1x per week in addition to running.  I do a shorter run during the week and a longer run on the weekend.  It started with 2 miles as the shorter run and 5 miles as the longer run.  The shorter run hovers at 2, 3, or 4 miles; the longer run increased to 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.1 (1/2 marathon) – make sense?

Last week I had my 1st outside long run (10 miles) to prepare for the 1/2 marathon in July in Chicago.  It will hot, even at the ungodly hour in the morning in which the race will be run.  Here are some important things I learned during this run:

  • You really have to be hydrated and prepped for a long run, especially in the heat.
  • Water is not enough.  You need Gatorade for electrolytes and hydration.
  • You need this during the run and these things are difficult to carry during a run.
  • Public water fountains are disgusting.  (My dogs drink out of these fountains.  And those are the cleaner species that utilize these contraptions).
  • Carrying a credit card is good to buy Gatorade and to possibly take a cab home if needed (although, thankfully, I did not need to do this).

I went on a medium run during the week (7 miles or so) and it was so hot I had to stop and walk for a bit and felt very nauseous.  Not good.  Then over the weekend, I went on my  long run and it was not pretty.  Let’s just say that if I didn’t find a bathroom on our lovely Chicago lakefront, there would have been a clean-up required on aisle 9.  Thankfully I did find one; I owe my dignity to the Burnham Harbor boat area public bathrooms.

This weekend I will be attempting another long run, my longest so far – about 12 miles.  I wish I had a better plan than just trying it again.  I will be hydrating much more before my run as well as ensuring I eat a good carb-filled meal the night before.  Hope this helps!

On the positive side, I have my route all mapped out on www.mapmyrun.com, which is awesome.  I like to use it to map out the run to determine the distance then I send it to my iPhone (there is an app for that, of course!).  Most of the time, though, I don’t want to lug my phone with me so I use my little iPod shuffle with the Nike Plus “Fitness” feature that has a GPS and I can upload it to Nike Plus and then MapMyRun to track my training.

Sorry if my tummy thing was TMI (too much information) but I was hoping to get some comments or feedback on any advice since this seems to be a unique issue (or maybe no one around me wants to admit it).  In any case, wish me luck, I will need it, as it will be about 95 degrees out on Saturday!  I will be drinking a lot of Gatorade for sure.  Also I will be mapping my route where there are plenty of convenience stores and public bathrooms……

My Journey to 10K

I have always been active and in pretty good shape, doing such things as kick boxing, step aerobics and boot camp training classes, but I have never considered myself a “runner”. Until May 2011, that is, when we were herded down to Grant Park in Chicago for the Chase Corporate Challenge. We all work for Gatorade, so it was difficult to tell my coworkers, “No, 5K (3.1 mi) is too much for me, I will take a pass”.

When the experienced runners wanted to “warm-up” by running from our office to the starting line, I was leery and lagged behind with a few others.  Seriously, were they crazy?  Not only was it 40 degrees outside, it was at least 3 miles to the start of the 5K race.  We took a cab to Starbucks, which was fairly close to the starting line.  Warm-up complete!

So there I am, freezing and waiting to run, hoping I will complete the distance without killing myself.  Most of my coworkers run marathons and compete in triathlon races so I would be lying to say that peer pressure did not have a hand in getting me outside to run.  Did I mention that until now I had only jogged on a treadmill?  Running in a race with thousands of people in downtown Chicago is entirely another story.  My approach was to run at a pace that made me comfortable since I didn’t train at all for this, therefore I didn’t have a gauge on how long of a run I was doing. It worked and I survived; time was 27:41, not bad.   I felt pretty good about it, actually  So I decided to keep running.  Next up – a 10K.

We have a lot of trainers and scientists that work for our brand and I was determined to utilize the information at my disposal.  To be honest, before I started working here, I didn’t realize the scientific benefits of Gatorade or electrolytes or even carbohydrates.  I knew carbs gave you energy but my knowledge stopped there.  At this point in time, I was working on a project to launch a new beverage to drink before you workout, G Prime (4oz pre-game beverage). I learned that before your race or workout, you need something that will give you energy (calories, carbs) but not leave you jittery (caffeine).  This particular product has 30g carbohydrates and 110mg of sodium.  The specifics of why I needed these things did not resonate at the time but I started drinking it before I ran and I really noticed a difference.

I never ran in the past because I did not enjoy it, plain and simple.  I never reached that “runner’s high” or state of relaxation I hear people touting.  I got stomach cramps and muscle cramps and that was enough for me to not push forward with this activity.  After I started drinking G Prime before and Gatorade during my workouts, I realized that these things that prevented me from running in the past weren’t happening anymore.  I have a degree in Industrial Engineering so I am a problem solver by nature.  I knew I introduced a new variable to my workouts but I wanted to understand this better.  After talking to my peers and other subject matter experts, I started to understand a little about the science behind the great-tasting red (or blue or purple) drink.

By adding Gatorade to my workout, I was easily able to start running faster and farther.  I had the energy to keep going and wasn’t stopped by stomach or muscle cramps.   This is mainly due to being hydrated (Gatorade is 94% water), and by adding sodium and potassium (the other 6%) which helps with the cramping.  I learned that you had to drink enough fluid to prevent dehydration without over-drinking.  When I drank just water, I felt too full and had that “sloshy” feeling in my stomach (note that is not a term that the Gatorade scientists used).

So I trained for about 3 months, running 1-2x per week, for my 10K.  I continued the other portions of my workout (kick-boxing primarily) since I wanted to cross-train.  I tried to run at a comfortable pace, increasing distance without compromising how I felt.  I was not as regimented as most runners with my training schedule but I did what worked for me.  By the time I got to the weekend of the 10K, however, I was getting cold feet.  I realized I had never run that far in my life (6.2 miles).  But yet again, I had peer pressure to contend with, as this was a charity race for Susan G. Komen and I was leading the team to organize our company’s participation.  So again I had to do it!

The unfortunate part of running races is the early morning start time as well as the cold and rain in this particular instance (i.e., not fun), so I was a little concerned about the outcome. But I ran the race in about 54 mins and the seed was planted.  I was determined to keep this going and improve my time and distance.

After all of this, I still had a lot to learn.  This was a work in progress. I knew I needed to continue doing what worked for me but not much more than that.  At this point, I started thinking about my next race and goal.  There was a 15K coming up in 2 months so I signed up for that.  Training for that was a little more serious (9.3 miles – that was scary to think about) so I knew I needed to learn more about how to ramp up to that distance.

Next up….a 15K!