how to run

how to run a marathon – part 2

Learning to run great distances is a -DIY- do it yourself adventure. Meaning have fun and experiment with options. You will learn not only about your body and mind and spirit, but also open yourself up to a whole new universe of extreme sports. Every time I thought I had nothing more to learn, some challenge arose which caused me to discover more. Not only do you get to be outdoors in nature for hours at a time (i did exactly zero minutes zero hours in the gym), but you get to experience deeper breathing, the runner’s high, and comradery with fellow runners. There’s a lot of physical pain that accompanies extreme sports, so it takes a certain kinda person to subject themselves voluntarily to running a marathon. And many people think we are crazy ’cause we don’t get paid. We have to cover the costs of entrance fees, shoes and equipment, yes. I had at least a half dozen perfect strangers over the past 6 months tell me I must be crazy. Haha-ha!

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.

ran a marathon!

CIM – ‘26.2 or nothing!’

finish line!

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

my marathon month

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.

marathoner?!