Hitting the iTunes store with a gift card I bought from Best Buy.  Downloaded a few songs, mostly of the ‘keep me running’ variety for the long marathon training sessions.  (Hey, Saturday’s run is 20 miles: expecting to go through a few songs there.)  In the ‘Just for You’ section, iTunes now recommends ‘Greatest Hits’, by Pat Benatar.  Ouch.

The marathon training is progressing.  Today’s 18 mile run was doable, though it has left me a bit sore.  It’s the first run that I’ve gotten through, though, where I looked at my GPS watch after the run and was bummed that we didn’t go quite far enough.  Back-story: usually when the Striders say we’re doing N, we’re really doing N + at least 1/2 a mile.  The first day we ran, we ran a ten mile run.  On the way back up the hills that lead back to the starting point, I watched the mileage markers put on the road very carefully: 2 miles.  1 mile.  0 miles?!!!   (Note that I was not yet back to the starting point.)  Turns out that 0 mile marker is about a 1/2 mile into the run.  So when we run 10 miles, we really run 10 plus the .5 on the way out, plus the .5 on the way back. 

 In today’s run, we hit some hard hills.  I hate hills.  In fact, I’ve often decided to walk a good part of a hill up, on the theory that the Marine Corp is flat (mostly) and I still have to make it those last miles back to the start, so ’tis wiser to walk.  But even walking up steep or long hills takes it out of you.  At the top of a particularly steep hill, my watch marked me at 13 and change.  The next mile marker I hit listed us as 6 miles out, putting the total distance at at least 19.5 (remember that extra .5 to get to 0).   I wasn’t liking life right about then.  I was on roads that were new to me, running my longest run ever, and it had suddenly gotten longer.  As we got farther along the course, though, it became clear that that 6 mile marker was wrong.  The first indicator was that, after running a mile, the mile marker went to 7, instead of 5.  The second was when we looped back around on the course to familiar terrain, and got there much more quickly than should have happened given a 6 mile marker. 

When I finally got back to my car and pressed “Stop” on the Garmin, my watch read 17.67 miles.  First time I’ve been bummed that we didn’t go farther.  Jason asked why I didn’t just go out and run till I hit 18 on the watch.  In my 17.67(!) mile tired leg and brain state, it frankly never even occurred to me. 

So, stats for the day: 3 hours 14 minutes 31 seconds to run 17.67 miles, with an average pace of 11.01/m.  That’s slower than my norm, but includes walking up those lousy hills.  My watch gave me some other interesting stats: since I’ve had my watch, I’ve logged 125.9 miles, some 25+ hours, and 15285 calories.  I’ve done other running without the watch on the gym or home treadmill, so count all those numbers as the low end.  Think I’ll have to treat myself somehow when I hit 250 miles.  That should happen easily sometime in early October.

So, I think I’ve mentioned I started a new job a few weeks ago.  Thought I’d mention an interesting culture shift I’ve seen…  I’ve mentioned that I’m running at lunch now.  Most of my office does some sort of exercise at lunchtime.  For most of them, bicycling is the sweat-dripper of choice.  These guys go out for 16 mile rides, and then come back and sling code with the best of ’em. 

At my previous gig, lunchtime meant walking to a great restaurant in Bethesda and having interesting conversations.  Here, it means dripping with sweat and comparing stories as to great hills conquered or sports jelly beans (I want to get me some of those!).  Gotta admit, this way is cheaper, and might even lose me a few pounds in the meantime. 

So, a few weeks ago I mentioned needing to run between 7 and 8.5 miles to hit my next milestone on the marathon plan.  I’m happy to say I ran 8 miles that day along the local trail.  That meant Saturday was a nine miler.  I got up in time to go out and beat the heat, but then, so did my son, and since my hubby’s never been one to go to bed earlier than way later than he should, didn’t seem quite kind to get him up so I could go run.  Cameron and I went for a walk instead.  Later in the day, though, when it was way too hot to be out pounding the trail, I did my 9 on the treadmill at the gym.  Boring, but effective. 

My marathon strategy is to recognize that I’m neither a fast runner, nor a great endurance runner.  I can, however, run for stints of time over and over again, so Galloway’s method of run/walk works by me.  At the moment, I’m a 6 minute run, 1 minute walk person, which puts me in at around 11 minute miles.  (I did mention I’m not fast.)  Since I just want to finish, preferably in under 5 hours, that puts me in good shape.  This upcoming Saturday is my first training run with the local running club.  I missed the cutoff date to get my entry bib into the Marine Corp marathon, but the local runners’ clubs have first-time marathoner entries.  Gotta suck up the 6:30 am start time, and the ten mile + training runs, though.

In the meantime, I’m running loops at work at lunchtime, making good use of that afore-mentioned shower in the ladies’ room.  The loop is 2 miles, with a nearly .5 mile trek to get there (with an almost .5 mile trek to get back).  By the end of the summer, I want to run the loop twice, getting me a 5 mile trek.  Short-term, I just want to run the loop itself without stopping.  (Closer today, but still walked on the uphill side.)

I like goals.  Running gives me goals, and accomplishments.  Given how slow/out of shape I am, I can pretty reasonably continue to set incremental goals, and with some work achieve them.  The upside to the side-effects of 3 pregnancies, too much beer, and too little exercise.

7-8.5 miles tomorrow…  yikes.  I was driving back from Krispy Kreme tonight with the girls (today was National Doughnut Day, according to our favorite Krispy Kreme guy, Mr. Jeff), and was watching our van tell me how many more miles it could eke out on the last bit of its gas tank.  10 miles.  Which looked to be longer than the distance from Krispy Kreme to get back home, in terms of how the Sienna’s mileage meter was counting.  (Note that I stopped for gas before I got home, as I didn’t want to rely too heavily on that meter.)  Still a darn long distance, though one that I need to be able to run/walk by the 16th to go on a training run with the Striders and get my marathon entrance.  To make it to 10 by then, I’m supposed to run 7-8.5 tomorrow.  I did 6 last weekend: very slowly, iterating on running N minutes, walking 1 minute.  Starting to fathom just how much long a 5 hour marathon is…..


Sunday workout – now that’s my idea of rest and relaxation.  Sweating, pushing metal…  it’s become my habit to go to the gym on Sunday afternoons.  We’ll come home from the regular service, usually after going out to lunch, and then I’ll head to the gym for an hour or so before Jason heads back to play for the evening service.  I used to feel a bit guilty about working out on the Sabbath until two things happened: (1) I ran into one of our pastors there on Sunday [granted, Sunday’s a work day for him], and (2) I realized that for me, working out is relaxation, both a mental and physical break from the ordinary jobs of software development and motherhood.  It’s me time, all the better when I can convince a friend to join me there and talk as work out on the elipticals.   Even more encouraging, I keep seeing a woman who’s obviously at least 7 or 8 months pregnant there, doing the same stuff as me, which gives me hope that I can keep this going.  It’s nice to think that as I weigh in at the doc on Tuesday, that I can claim some amount of the weight gain as muscle mass.  And if I can hold onto that muscle gain, then the baby weight oughta come off that much more easily.

The one gotcha I ran into today: a baby foot or arm, couldn’t tell which, in the ribs really isn’t conducive to working on the pec machine…

I keep asking my doc each visit, making sure this is all still OK.  Each visit, she expresses surprise that I’m still able to do it, but keeps telling me that as long as I’m up to it, it’s OK for the baby.   I’ll ask again Tuesday, but am sure hoping that I can keep this up for at least a few more months.

The itch is back. Never really went away. Just went dormant for a while. 26.2 is calling me. Calling me to what looks like an impossible goal, at least in terms of aiming for this fall. My longest run of late has been 4. My brain’s sick enough to say, well that’s already 1/6 of the beast. (My brain also tends to give me the benefit of a few more miles after a long run: I’d rather not peter out 2.6 miles before end end.) I’m registered for a ten miler at the end of August on the theory that I’ve somehow gotta be able to run 10 miles then to be able to run 26.2 in October’s local marathon.

Jason’s out of town this weekend, else I’d push the 4 to at least 5 and maybe 6 depending on my hubris. I have hopes of waking up before the girlies tomorrow and putting in some miles on the treadmill, though treadmill running for me is a wonderful exercise in complete and total boredom in which I never seem to accomplish the miles that I intend. Put me out on the road or on the trail and I’ll make the distance, particularly if I don’t have to do multiple rounds around a loop where I get to make a decision to stop at some point. N miles is best done in an n/2 out and back kind of setup. Then I only really need to aim to get to n/2: after that n is inevitable, given that I gotta get home somehow.

Thinking/scheming tonight: half-marathon in October locally, full marathon on a flatter course in November near my sis. But then there’s no real backup plan: if I stick to the plan as-is right now, November can be my backup. Better get to bed, so the plan of the run in the morning can hold true, regardless.

Did a half marathon in October, with the intent of training up for a full one in February. Welp, life intervened: classes took more of my time than I thought, my training partner had some minor surgery that took her out of the training plan, and then of course, the holidays will take as much time as you let them. So, I’m nowhere near on track for a marathon in February. But … I do have hopes to run a half marathon in March on the local trail, and then run the full marathon in early June as part of our family vacation.

So, I’m out running my long runs on the weekends, and as much during the week as I can fit in. Today’s outing was 5 miles, which seems both short and long to me… used to be, just making it 2 required great concentration and perserverance. But on the other hand, I know that I’ve run 10 on that same trail, so 5 just seems so short.

To make the half marathon in March, I need to add a mile a week to my long run, which doesn’t seem so bad. I do an out-and-back route on a flat trail (the half will also be on that same course; need to check how flat the full marathon will be), so to add a mile, I only need to make it one more half mile marker down the trail – doesn’t seem so bad. Half a mile at my basic pace is a little less than 5 minutes, and heck, I can hold on for 5 more minutes. That it’s actually closer to a 10 minute impact I manage to block. But hey, 10 minutes isn’t so bad, either.

I think there oughta be a running book out there titled something like ‘Just 10 more minutes…’ Catch all the nonathletes like me that need to figure out how to get to this big goal. If each week I can just run ten more minutes than I did the previous week, I can run a marathon! Bet that applies in lots more situations: if each week I just spent ten more minutes studying, or ten more minutes listening, or ten more minutes cleaning – think of what I could do!