Monday, November 21, 2011

I am a marathoner!

I officially finished my first full marathon yesterday. The first half was fun, then it started to feel like work. And then my running partner for the race and I fell apart at mile 20. We "ran" that mile in about 15 minutes (according to my Garmin splits). Ouch! But we pulled it together and improved our pace ever so slightly for the last few miles. They were slow, but we did cross the finish line! Official chip time was 5:42:05. Though my main goal was just to finish and not get hurt, I was hoping for a 5:30 finish time. I'm not sure yet if I'll do another, but I suspect I will want to take another shot at it next year and get a better time. :)

I had a plain bagel for breakfast with some blueberry preserves (from a local farm - delicious!). I can't stomach too much before a race, so that was about the most I could handle. I lost count of how many gels I had during the race, but it felt like a million. Probably around 10, though. Sometimes I feel gross after a long run, from all those gels, but I recovered enough to start eating shortly after the finish line. I got a bag of pretzels and water going through the chute, and then headed to the Four Seasons hotel for the Runner's World Challenge Post-Race Reception. My wonderful group of friends met me at the finish line and accompanied me to the reception.

After a great tandem massage (two people doing a gentle massage and stretch, legs/feet only) I got some more snacks. They had smoothies - though they were using yogurt, they made one up for me with just fruit and juice - peanut butter banana sandwiches, some other dairy items and some dried fruit and nut mix. I stuck with my smoothie and some of the fruit and nut mix, along with a cup of green tea. Once I got through that (though I shared most of the fruit and nut mix), we all headed out to lunch. We settled on Chinese, since there is generally something for me to eat and close by. I got buddhist vegetables with tofu and brown rice, which was quite yummy. After lunch I headed home to get cleaned up and put my feet up for a bit.

For dinner I steamed and then sauteed some kale with a little cider and maple syrup, heated up some leftover root veggies I had cooked in the crock pot the day before for dinner, and cooked up a veggie burger to have on a whole wheat bun. Oh yeah, I baked up a few waffle fries I unearthed for the freezer, because I was really jonesing for some fries. haha Not the healthiest, but delicious!

Dinner hit the spot, but I still wanted dessert. So I melted up a 1/2 square of unsweetened baking chocolate with some vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (maybe 1 tablespoon?), and 1-2 T of unsweetened coconut milk, in the microwave. Sliced up a banana, and bingo - delicious dessert.

 I am still working on re-hydrating, which I'm not very good at. Pretty sore and stiff, but that should get better in a few days. Overall, it really was a great race experience. I think I learned some lessons, so maybe if I do it again I can improve. But, as I was told, once you've done one, you're a marathoner for life!

I can't say I have been very productive today, but I have been plotting what comes next, and looking back over my training. Since July I have run 454 miles! I know that doesn't sound like much to hardcore runners, but it's pretty exciting for me. This is definitely the longest stretch that I have run regularly, and obviously the most weekly mileage I have ever put in. Though I definitely plan to rest for this week and ease back into running to give my body time to recover, I don't want to lose my momentum. I'm afraid, based on my history, that I will revert to a couch potato now that my big goal is done and winter is approaching. So I have been collecting gear to keep my nice and warm, and hopefully motivated to run even in the cooler weather. I definitely want to focus more on strength training as well, but I think I will sign up for a 5K or two over the winter so I don't completely stop running.

Do you have winter running plans? Know of any fun winter races in the Philly area?

P.S. In the winter spirit, Vegan Heartland is hosting a giveaway with So Delicious. I always loved egg nog, so I am a sucker for a good vegan 'nog. I'm excited to try the new So Delicious flavors! Check out the giveaway!

Friday, November 4, 2011


I am very excited: marathon day is only16 days away, which is hard to believe. And I am officially at the "tapering" stage of training. That is, running less and resting up to toe the line healthy and energetic on race day. Running has taken up a huge chunk of my time the last several weeks, so I am looking forward to catching up on some things during these "found" hours. Also, I'm tired, so the rest part sounds great. My last 20 mile run was last weekend (in the most horrendous weather, I was afraid my fingers were going to get frostbite, and I am pretty sure I was at the beginning stages of hypothermia by the time it was done), and this weekend's "long run" is only 13 miles.

With race day coming up quickly, the topic of carb-loading has been on my mind. Of course, that sort of sounds like every day for me. ;) Regardless, I don't think I have a solid plan for what I will eat the day or two leading up, and the morning of the race. So I have been thinking about that.

Also, I have been trying to figure out what's next. It feels like everything I have been striving for culminates in this day, Nov. 20. For awhile "after" has been a very vague thought, I have been so focused on being ready for this one event. But now I think I need to start working on a plan for "after" so I don't revert to couch potato status. I've worked way too hard to lose all my running fitness, and I don't want to completely backslide. I need a new goal to keep me on target after the marathon.

I've also been adding things to a "bucket list". It's pretty fun to come across these grand ideas that would be awesome to do "someday" and have a list to put them on. I tend to forget things, so this will help me remember all those really cool things that I would like to do. I am trying to figure out how to share the "bucket list" widget on here, so keep an eye out.

Related to the carb-loading topic, I'm thinking pasta with swiss chard for dinner. Both because I have a long run tomorrow, and I really like pasta. And the swiss chard from our garden was looking a little wilted from the cold weather, so DH picked most of it for us yesterday and there is a bunch in the fridge. If I come up with something awesome I will be sure to share it.