Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Marathoning- Is It Healthy?

Let me preface this by saying that I am going CRAZY without the long runs. I struggled through 7 miles yesterday. I do mean STRUGGLED. I am getting so frustrated when I'm stressed without my high inducing runs. I find that running is the healthiest thing for me, it grounds me and centers me in a way that no other form of exercise has been able to do. I can not lay in Savasana and meditate my way into a clear mind, but I darn sure can run into one! I have been super stressed with school and I miss running. My body has never been stronger and I have never been stronger as an individual. A huge chunk of me is missing right now without something to train for. I have what can only be called the post marathon blues :/ Ready to sign up for another! At least I have the half at White Rock to look forward to!

I opened up my internet browser to MSN today and this article popped up on the front page. This article angers me on many accounts. It is saying that heart damage is a proven side effect of marathon training, yet I know people who have had heart surgery that run ultra marathons! I think we all know that running can be hard on our bodies no doubt, but I really find it difficult to believe that a heart problem is a rampant problem with marathoners.

This study should not have even been published because in my mind it was not conducted well enough to bring into a general public problem. There were only 20 people looked at into this study set to represent the approximately 468,000 marathoners that Marathon Guide reported in 2009. I don't know about you, but if someone is making generalized health claims I think that I would want more people surveyed to look at the health risk! I would not try a new medication that only 20 people had tried, I don't think I'll take medical advice for it too!

Second, this study said they had various ages surveyed, but they never mention underlying health issues they may have. They also do not say how many of the sample were in their 20s, 30s and so on. This does make a difference because we know as we age that we are more prone to heart disease. If this study was conducted with mainly older marathoners that could drastically skew the results.

Third, this study did not look at other factors. What was the weather like that day hot or cold? We all know temperature extremes can make a difference in how our bodies react to the marathon. What was the elevation like? Going uphill is a big difference from a net downhill course! There are a multitude of extenuating factors that can contribute to physical ailments in a marathon other then the distance itself.

This study is trying to look at why people have been dying of heart attacks in races. I understand that this has been occurring more, but could it be because more people are running marathons now? Could it be related to body fat percentage? We all know that elite runners are some of the leanest athletes out there perhaps that low body fat is putting more stress on their hearts? There is no way to tell why this is occurring, but we need to remember that it get sensationalized in the media. There are almost half a million marathoners and the bulk majority do not die of heart attacks, but finish on a euphoric high knowing that they achieved what they thought was impossible.

Tell me what you think is marathoning dangerous for our health?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Three Things Thursday- Recovery Edition

As a new marathoner I had NO idea how to properly recover from this marathon. I went into this blissfully unaware of the soreness that could erupt from running over 26 miles. I avoided showering until 4 the day after because there were 15 stairs separating me from the shower. Trust me I felt EVERY one of them. I have now learned things from this and here are three pearls of wisdom for you.

1) Massage. Don't be tough, schedule the massage. I was naively thinking that I had little soreness during training so I wouldn't need one the Monday after. Let me tell you I was calling near tears wanting a massage for my hamstring knot the size of Alaska. If you can not afford a massage, go to a school, if not then dump your significant other and marry one. Trust me in the end you made the right decision. I am in fact looking for a personal masseuse to follow me around, I would like another rub down like um now.

2) Respect your body. I am a tough girl who does not like admitting defeat or that I need rest. I stupidly ran 2 days afterwards. I proceeded to run again the next morning. I am still sore with something going on in my low back/glute area. I do recommend more rest than I gave myself, but I did do 5 miles on a perfect fall evening tonight and feel OK. I am definitely going to take it easier this week than originally planned. I suggest ya'all do the same. In fact, I'm going to try trail running this weekend to give my body a break from the asphalt.

3) Watch the credit card. I am currently sitting her debating signing up for an ultra despite never trail running, a half marathon in December or a full marathon in December. I am not sure what I am going to do next, but I do know I need to budget a bit more wisely. I am going shopping at Lululemon tomorrow so I don't think that budgeting will go too well, but running tights are a MUST right now.

So in conclusion when in recovery make sure you marry a masseuse, rest and keep credit cards/sharp objects away from you. It is reverse taper where everyone rubs you the wrong way and deserves a sharp "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS" as you walk around in a delirium that makes you feel as loopy as the Chesire Cat.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I LOVE the marathon!! KC Recap

So the marathon scary yes? I was never nervous always just excited. I HAD this, I had had a phenomenal month of training and was strong. I ate my weight in food on Friday and then woke up to my normal breakfast of Ezekiel muffin with peanut butter and STRAWBERRY jelly. Pinned my number on and got my bottles ready. I drink Perfect Water which I will do a post on sometime, but this stuff is a miracle. I mix half a bottle with regular water. I did this in two water bottles, which I'd switch out around the 14 mile mark. I got to the race a bit late because I stress if I don't. I can't stand around if I do I psych myself out, I have to make myself completely numb before I run, get out of my head.

Took a picture in front of the fountains since we are in the city of fountains! Adam of Man Vs Food even said we are the Paris of the Midwest. And honestly, I do live in a GORGEOUS city which I saw most of today!

So I started WAY far back compared to where I was hoping to be. I sprinted to catch up with the 4 hour pacer. I was just totally zoned in felt amazing. My friend Cassie found me around mile 5? Somewhere on the Plaza and did a happy dance when we found each other. We proceeded to high five every cheering kid and just celebrated the whole stretch. This is where the spectators were thick. We only got to run till mile 8 where she had to split off since she doing the half. I was now out there alone. I took my first Honey Stinger then so consequently took a walk break. I have yet to figure out how to eat and run without getting a massive cramp. I then took a restroom break real quick. Then we proceeded down Ward Parkway and up into the gorgeous old houses. Here's the thing though, the crowd thins out and the hills get massive. You keep turning corners thinking this HAS to be the last hill. And you know what? It never was! They just kept getting bigger!

My uncle and my mom ran my second water bottle out to me around mile 14 and I took my second Stinger. At this point it was getting hot and even the 4:05 pacer had passed me, but I felt strong and just kept moving. I did walk a bit more starting after this, but nothing too crazy. The next stretch is a blur running parallel to the Trolley Trail and I really don't remember much until mile 20 when two things happen. My family switched out another bottle (which I wish I had filled with perfect water) and I chicked two hotties :), I took my final Stinger and began the last 10k still feeling amazing.
I began to slow down at this point probably because the HILLS started again! I knew I didn't have it in me to run up anymore of them so I began to walk them. I kept turning the corner and seeing BIGGER hills! Cruel Eladio Cruel you don't put hills in the last 10k, especially ones that big! Finally, I got to the Team in Training water stop where I saw some of my buddies who told me it was all downhill from there. :D I yelled that is exactly what I need to hear and began to pick it up. I felt great the whole run which I was shocked, I never really hit the wall. When you finish there is a darn incline before it levels off (Again what is the deal with the cruelty here?) I picked it up a bit and ended with a 4:06:31. I was THRILLED!! I knew 4 hours was a stretch, but my realistic goal was a 4:15 which I smashed. I also NEVER felt bad the whole race. I was smiley and energetic. I didn't come off my high until late Saturday night!
Digging deep for that final sprint!
What did I learn?
Make sure to add Perfect Water at mile 20 too. I really could have used that extra boost.
Banana Stingers trump chocolate for me.
Chafing sucks and it's always in painful places!
Hills at the end are a trend that needs to end... NOW
Positive thinking works REALLY well
Marathons are FUN

I am dying to do another and trying to decide if I can swing for Phoenix since I think White Rock is just a bit soon. I'm still super sore and am actually going to a massage today since my back is so stiff and I have to run a 5k tonight with Girls on Track.

I have absolutely NEVER had a better weekend in my life, and I am so sad to see it all end.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Real Quick!!

This has to be quick BECAUSE I have a football game to go to ASAP and I am taking carb loading seriously!

Tomorrow is going to ROCK!!

This race don't know if you can tell, but that is a 1:50 time clock time of 1:51. Perfect half marathon definitely was in the mood to run some more!

This playlist

And more :) Nice eclectic mix for 4 1/2 hours hoping for 4 hours, but REALLY don't want to go past 4 1/2.

Weather 40s at the start... low 60s by the end.

This should rock! Be back this weekend with new products found at the expo, amazing deals and RACE report!

Number 322 is gonna run this town tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Signs of Taper

ARGH Taper is in full swing here and well I am not coping well... Here are the symptoms of taper in my world:

1) Mood swings... Worse then PMS is the marathon mood swing. You can go from grouchy willing to attack anyone who dares look at you to euphorically happy in the matter of seconds. People begin to tread lightly around you and look at you like you're a fire breathing dragon (and at times you are!)

2) Cravings... Oh the cravings again no hormones have a match on the taper cravings. I have ate mashed potatoes (the REAL ones), cereal, cheese and chips like CRAZY this week. This is odd because I HATE cheese, usually don't gorge on chips and rarely have mashed potatoes outside of the holiday season. The taper body wants what it wants though.

3) Dreams... Yes you begin to dream of the marathon, what it will be like and what will it look like. Your world is now consumed by the marathon. The mythical beast you are going after.

4) Running... You realize how crazy you have become when a previously fast pace now feels easy because you're only going 4 miles. You run 10 miles and realize you just got warmed up and now its over! Reflect on these runs how just a few months ago these were not easy runs. Now 8 is an easy day and this 4 mile is a temptress of better things to come

5) Injuries... Real or fake I am not completely sure. I now am the proud owner of a sore, throbbing black toenail and phantom pains. I am refusing to believe they are real, but merely the byproduct of a mind that is not properly tired.

6) Highs... You begin to look for new ways to get endorphins maybe driving too fast *cough cough* or food, but somehow you MUST get those endorphins and 4 miles is just not far enough to produce them in the quantity you are used to!

7) Money... HIDE THE CREDIT CARDS!! Whatever you do hide them. With all of this free time on your hands and inability to think straight money will be spent at alarming rates. Lululemon online will become your friend as will all of the race sites. All of a sudden money is no object. REMEMBER you are NOT in your right mind and can not be held responsible for the large bill you are racking up, it is merely taper talking!

These are seven signs of taper. Do you have more to add to my little list?

I am off to preform toenail surgery and hoping it doesn't ruin my marathon... and that the weather won't ruin my marathon... or the phantom pains... and what will I wear since it's going to be hotter?

See the taper mind is not a sane one.

Taper mind also has time to scroll through all 51 hottest bachelors... Mr Arizona should appeal to the athletic types ;)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Pumpkin Run

Today I had the pleasure of running the Jared Coones Pumpkin Run. It was not a pleasure because I LOVE the 5k distance in fact I rather dislike it, remember the unathletic part? Yea, that goes with the running fast part and I just don't do that well! But anywho this morning started at 6 am and the run was at 8. I had on my lucky shorts from Nike last year (me superstitious never I also have a lucky sports bra... Both are not flattering!) and was on my way to the Pumpkin Run. But why if I dislike the 5k would I do this to myself?

This summer I had the distinct honor of playing with and helping kids cope with cancer. I had parents tell about marriage problems that cancer had caused, I had heard stories of life and loss, I have played Princess with girls in blonde wigs and held girls hands when they are crying. You do not go through this experience without coming out changed. You realize how short life is... And how we often take that for granted. You learn that even small gestures make a difference and most of all you learn about mental toughness.

The Jared Coones Pumpkin run has raised over 275k over the last 11 years for the Dream Factory, Children's Mercy Hospital and other cancer organizations. This run is held each year at Jared Coones elementary school in honor of him losing the battle with leukemia in 1998. His mom died not even 10 years later of breast cancer. Tom Coones has held the race every year to give back to the people who helped his son live throughout cancer and to honor his family that he lost. The honorary starter was a little 6 year old named Braden going through neuroblastoma while his mom faces breast cancer herself. This race was full of tear jerking moments. When Rachel a high school senior stricken with cancer crossed that finish line at 1 hour and 34 minutes and when the families that lost a loved one to cancer were introduced I was misty eyed. The moment that really took my breath away was seeing Braden's family come on stage to be introduced him in his gloves with his shiny head, dad carrying him with mom following behind with a hat on to cover the effects of her own treatment. I knew that family not them personally, but families so similar to them. It makes you so grateful for your health and that you GOT to run that day.

I ran a 23:09 still not my sub 23 but good enough for 3rd in my age group. I ran this for all of "my" kids and all of the people who will be touched by cancer this year. They are all in my thoughts and prayers today because in the end that 5 extra lbs don't matter, those 9 seconds don't matter, but the chance to live is enough.

Me with Tom Coones and Joel Nichols accepting my age group award

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Journey of Unathleticism

Why am I saying that I am unathletic? WELL we have to go back into my history.

At the tender age of 8 I realized I was not a swimmer. I could swim strong to be sure, but I lacked one necessary skill in order to be the next Dara Torres... I failed to be able to dive. I threw a fit, stormed around on the pool deck like Captain Hook being stalked by that crocodile and generally said NO I CAN NOT DO THIS AND YOU WILL NOT MAKE ME! I was never a drama queen as you can tell. Needless to say I never learned how to get into the pool without gently testing it with a toe or two before sliding my body in ever so carefully into the icy cold depths of the pool. There ended my swimming career never even making it off the blocks.

Let's go back further... Soccer was filled with games of tag and absolute no chasing of the soccer ball... I am not even sure if I ever learned how to score a goal properly. My dad was so proud I'm sure of the darling daughter he was coaching. Basketball, I learned in one practice that it was not my sport. Something about not even being able to heave that gigantic basketball halfway to the goal devasted my dreams of the WNBA. I wasn't too heartbroken though! I also couldn't dribble the ball without it bouncing off my foot which would have been a cool trick had I been a Globetrotter, but trust me I wasn't and it just bounced sadly across the gym away from me. Running for it's life more like it, to someone that wouldn't abuse it.

Baseball, tennis, volleyball all met with the same fates. I was scared of the ball so I delicately shrieked and ran away from the ball intent on coming after me to knock me out and generally make me look a fool. I did ride horses for years (still do) and that was the extent of my athletic ability.

Until these last two years. I have finally emerged out of my cocoon and found something I can do that met of all the requirements.

Requires no coordination? Check
No balls? Check

I now RUN. And loved it! I have achieved new PRs all fall race season with a 1:50:36 half marathon time, to a 23:37 5k (hoping to smash this weekend) that led me to a second in my age group and all of this has been leading up to my crown jewel the marathon which is a week away and why I am slightly crazy right now. Taper does not serve me well!

So PEOPLE even the unathletic can be a runner! If I can you can so run some miles for me since I'm not supposed to be due to this taper thing designed to test the will of all runners the world wide.