after Tosh stopped filming, i surprised him by coming around the other side of the police car, where we had a sweet embrace. see how the heart prevails over that which is sacred? sometimes nothing can get between the love we have for one another.
All I can say is I am 43 years old and probably in the best shape of my life. I rocked 26.2 miles and got a ton of love from spectators, family, friends, and other runners. I spend countless hours along the most beautiful river in northern California, which I otherwise might have wasted online staring at a computer or worse. And I have a huge sense of accomplishment which carries over to confidence I have in everything I do. Now if that’s ‘crazy’ – please – make me insane!
I try and keep things simple or minimalist: no watch, no headphones, no camelbacks while running. Garmin makes watches which track your pace and heartbeat and distance and many runners have them, but you don’t need them if you’re concerned only with having fun and finishing, not with racing. It’s all up to you. A flipbelt will hold up to 10 GU gels around your waist, which is all the energy you need for 26.2! You can keep stuff in a wristband, too, including S-caps and even powdered supplement mix or gatorade in a plastic baggie for when you find a water fountain. I used GU Roctane during the marathon, which has sodium, caffeine, and extra amino acids. I also took S-Caps (salt and potassium pills) to keep safe from dehydration. My method was 1 GU every 40 minutes, 1 S-Cap every hour, for 5 hours. Just before my long runs, I drank a bottle of water mixed with Apex pre-workout mix (1 scoop) and Old School’s ‘Vintage Blast’ pre-workout (1 scoop) in lieu of GU. During the marathon I drank water and/or gatorade/nuun at every aid station, approx every 3 miles. When training on your own, you must find water fountains or hide a water bottle ahead of time, if you do not carry water. Don’t go more than 6 miles without fluids! Bananas and oranges were offered along the CIM course and I always took them.
Your energy level will go in waves! When tired, shorten your stride and ease back on your pace. When energized, I say go for it and pick up the pace. Listen to your body. If you suffer runner’s knee or other joint pain: KT-Tape is the bomb! Use it. Carry it. Negative splits are better than positive splits! Meaning run the first half slower than the second. I hit a wall hard after running 10min miles for the first half of my first race, which was a 20 miler one month before the marathon. My natural pace is 11 min/mile, but I had a lot of adrenaline and was pushing hard. I learned quickly the dangers of the positive split. My legs were so tired by mile 16 I could hardly continue on. But experiencing this wall over the next 4 miles was probably good for me, because I learned how to run on tired legs and finish.
You can discover your pace by knowing your distance and time, checking the clock before you set out and after you return. Just subtract any time you took for water/bathroom breaks. You can easily map out your route distance beforehand by going to google maps, right clicking your mouse and selecting ‘measure distance’. Then you divide your total minutes ran by total distance ran, to get your pace. It’s that simple. I found that I consistently ran a natural pace and could chip away at it on shorter runs.
If you are starting from scratch, give it a 4-6 month training window. Go ahead and find a tried and true schedule and post it on your wall. I used Hal Higdon’s 16 week intermediate marathon training schedule. Let yourself stray from the schedule based on your instincts. Everyone has their own personal challenges which will impact daily life. Just know that if you keep running, your legs will get stronger. 10% increases in mileage per week is considered the gold standard. Many runners alternate weeks increasing their sunday long runs to new distances, then falling back to rest the legs. I started out running totals of 15-20 miles a week, then worked my way up to 50-60 miles (with a 20 mile longest sunday run) in 12 weeks, then used the last 4 weeks to taper back down to 20-30 range, letting the legs recover before the big one. Cross-training is essential. I chose cycling and hiking. If I felt I needed a day off, I took it. If I could run 5 days straight, I did. The back-2-back concept is very helpful for learning/feeling how to run on tired legs. Hitting a wall here and there is good for you to experience the pain and try and run through it. Psychological/mental conditioning.
There is such a thing as over-training and it’s dangerous! Keep to the schedule if you can. You could injure yourself. New runners can be prone to injuries because your body is still adjusting to the high impact sport of long distance running. What happens with a new runner is your body tries to acclimate to the stress of impact, and often expends energy trying to stabilize/protect your legs. Experienced runners will find that, once acclimated, the body will be able to use those energy channels towards forward momentum.
Buy quality running shoes that are made for long distances. My personal favorite shoe and the one that got me through: Brooks’ Launch 3! A ‘neutral trainer’ that is very supportive but not too heavy, and has the kind of midsole cushioning which pushes back to help your forward momentum. Be aware of ‘pronation’ and have someone check your stride. Shoes wear out in 300-500 miles. Have an alternate pair and keep track. Faster runners tend to run on different shoes than they train on. Hokas are cushiony and good for recovery runs. The Pegasus 33 Nikes are good but a bit heavy. There are tons of useful shoe and product reviews all over the internet. Use them.
Use anti-chafing sticks like ‘Body Glide’ for surfers. Long runs will rub raw your arms, feet, inside of your thighs, anywhere there’s friction. Experiment with socks. They do make socks these days which prevent blisters, but moleskin helps, too. I experienced a knee injury while breaking in my Hokas which caused me to need new shoes only days before my race, and the ‘Swiftwick’ socks I was offered kept the blisters at bay. If you do get blisters while training, there are safe ways to pop and bandage them and keep running without delay. Don’t forget suntan lotion if you are fair-skinned. Nobody loves skin cancer and you may be out running for 3-4 hours at a time…
I am thrilled to have finished the California International Marathon yesterday in just under 5 hours, running from Folsom to Sacramento @ dawn to noon! I could not have made it without all of the support I got from friends and family, fellow runners and spectators, and volunteers cheering us along throughout the course. I stayed on pace this time, focusing on a negative split, and finished really strong without a whole lotta suffering like last month when I hit that proverbial wall.
|kiss the sky|
This was truly one of the best days of my life! The dream I had to run — when I was just a kid watching and cheering and giving cups of water to the runners @ the Boston Marathon — finally became a reality. I wanna give a shout out to those of you who have been following my 6 month journey, and provided me with so much encouragement. I am grateful to you! Look out for 2017: I may move into the ULTRA-marathon with an attempt at the Gold Rush 50 kilometre trail run which also starts in Folsom, in May. Sky = the limit.
|cim or nothing|
I took a deep breath and recovered some hope after talking with friends and family, and kept on. I bought a compression sleeve for my knee and did a couple of short (2-3mile) runs over the weekend in my Adidas Pureboost X’s, and I did still feel a dull pain in the knee but not too bad. Running fast on a downhill did not seem to aggravate it, and there was no swelling or bruising afterward. This convinced me it was the proverbial ‘runner’s knee’ people talk about. I began to wonder if I might forsake the Nikes for the Pureboost X’s but nowhere online could I find anyone who ever ran an entire marathon in these shoes! I just didn’t want to wear the Pegasus again, due to their weight and something about them just did not feel right toward the end of my first race. The Pureboost X is a lightweight shoe which is incredibly comfortable and is mostly reviewed online as a 10k or less trainer with floating arches, and good for the road. So I decided to run a counterintuitive 9 miles yesterday with only 6 days to go, just to see if the Pureboosts (and my knee) could handle long distance.
These are the final variables for my race preparation. I have brought my weight down to 169lbs (i am 5′ 11″ tall) by eating mostly tilapia, pasta, oatmeal, cup of noodles, and drinking Jamba juice, muscle milks, tea, water, and V-8. I take B-complex and multivitamins and green tea extract pills daily. I am happy with my in-run energy plan which consists of Roctane (higher amino acid levels) GU gels every 45 minutes, and S-caps (salt pills with potassium) every hour. And of course water/gatorade provided on the course. Needless to say, shoes and a knee injury are 2 very critical variables to have at such a late stage in training. Up until I got sick and subsequently injured, my training regimen (Hal Higden’s intermediate schedule) went perfectly well, too.
How did yesterday’s run feel? Pretty good. The Pureboost X’s felt fantastic all 9 miles, so I think I will go against the grain and run the marathon in these beauties! Maybe I will be the first one ever to do so? I think they can go the distance. As for me, well, my knee got a little funky after I took a bathroom break midway through the run. It began to hurt in mile 5 and I really thought my plans to run the marathon were about to come crashing down. But I decided to try and run through it, and this time — miracle of miracles — it worked! By the end of the run it was feeling quite good and so was I. My plan is to stay off my legs as much as possible the next 5 days, do a lot of yoga and quad stretching, buy some glucosamine supplement and KT tape (kinesiology) — which seems to have worked wonders for other runners in trouble with runner’s knee — and keep my head up and heart skipping beats as Sunday fast approaches.
I was concerned about the knee. I was gonna wait a couple of days before freaking out about the situation. I had a bad feeling that I caused the injury by switching shoes mid-run like that, because the Hokas are heel strikers and much different from any other shoes I have worn. They have a strange way of changing the impact points on your legs. Though they provide more cushion than the Nikes (the very reason I decided to buy them), I could feel great stress in my hips and inner thighs after running a half marathon. Still, I love the shoes for the way they push back and give me an effortless feeling, seem to help set a nice rhythm in the stride… (see part 2)
This has become my marathon month and despite all my other obligations i have to say it’s been a joy to have been mostly devoted to running for the last six months. in 3 weeks i plan to run the Cali International, and last week’s twenty mile ‘Run The Parkway’ race gave me a sweet shot of confidence. it was my first ever real live race, and 10 minute 39 second miles was my best pace ever, 20 miles my longest distance ever. i met some cool new friends on the run who i hope to see at the CIM. the morning was simply beautiful as we followed the American River up then downstream, and got a good dose of singing birds, rising sun, cheering fans and morning mist.
|#246. post-race with medal|
this was an inaugural race which is selling itself as the official CIM training run and will in fact be getting in bed with the marathon for a package deal savings for 2017. my boyfriend has a bum knee but already decided he’s gonna try and also ‘get in bed’ with me so we can run the parkway next year together. (we’ll just have to see how that goes – wink wink) anyway, my brother was a sweetheart and just bought me my first pair of maximum cushion Hoka One One Bondi 4’s. thanks bro!
|my super max comfort runners|
i broke them in a little with recovery runs – 14 miles – on the streets and the american river the last couple of days and so far they feel spectacular. the ‘rocker’ effect really helps setup a rhythm and yes, they offer good pushback with every stride, creating a forward momentum for you. dam, i felt the road so hard in the race last week. around mile fifteen my Nike Pegasus 33’s could not save my legs from the pavement and it’s a solid shoe but i guess i am used to more trail running. i was able to run the border of the parkway on the dirt for several miles though, so it may have been more to do with my decision to keep unusual pace. for the first half marathon i was runnin ten minute miles versus my usual eleven. quite a leap of faith in myself and mostly adrenaline i suppose. also i met some people i enjoyed talking to and was trying to keep up with them, too. a real friendly crowd overall, just over a thousand strong. anyway, the life of shoes log about 4-600 miles and mine are close to dead. and what with the dead legs feeling i had by mile 18, i decided i wanted to try for a pair with max cushion so i don’t have to feel the road. in the future (if i race) i plan to go for trail race events like the AR50 (American River 50 mile ultra). that full day hike up to Auburn really makes my mouth water!
|cool metallic bling!|
what i love about running and training are all the factors at play and how it becomes a genuine laboratory experiment on yourself with so many variables: shoes, posture, nutrition, energy, pace, weather, distance, surface, time of day, hydration, pre-workout rituals, yoga, sleep, stretching, comradery, audio, mantra, visualization, adrenaline, topography, comradery, location, gels, s-caps (salt pills), amino acids, recovery rituals, ice baths, epsom salt, protein shakes, shedules, titrating, tapering, comradery, consistency, constancy, technique, anti-blister, anti-chafing, injury prevention, pre-race ritual, wildlife sightings, sprints, hills, post-race ritual, education, (did i say?) comradery, effort, breath, rhythm… honestly i think Einstein would be scratching his head!
|the American River|
during the race i overheard someone say how they told a friend, who then asked them how much they’re getting paid to run? people do look at us crazy when we tell them we actually pay entrance fees for these killer events. you probably need to be running 6 minute miles to get sponsored, idk. all i think you need to understand, though, is how you get a better youout of this deal. truly! a bioaffective-psychosocial-spiritual new you. that’s my take. i am in the greatest shape of my life (bio). i am quicker to calm, if not emotionally sound (affective). my psychology is a real mindfuck (in the best sense of the word), as i am exceeding the limits of what i thought i was capable of. this part is particularly super special because it means i’m breakin on through and out! i am shattering formerly solid personal belief walls and opening up a new world where what i may have thought improbable is suddenly alive. in process. someone once said ‘dare to fail‘ and it’s true. i wouldn’t now be busting my ass for Folsom on december 4th, if i felt i had to finish. it’s exactly knowing that i never have but maybe could run 26.2 that has me surging and thrilled to try. and that, my friends, is the what and why.