Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tricks and Confessions

Let me just start this post by saying:

18 freaking miles.

This is at about 7.5 miles when I still felt like smiling.

Yep. 18 miles: check! My knees are killing me and I'm sore from my neck down, but I did it. It's my longest run to date.

They say that training for a marathon is mostly mental and I would have to agree. This is especially true if you are not the speediest runner because the longer it takes you to go a distance, the more time you have in your head. Luckily, when I'm running, my thoughts don't tend to get into the negative zone, but it does get really easy to focus on how uncomfortable you are.

I felt really good until about 13 miles. At 15 miles, I was pretty miserable and by the last mile I was torn between walking and running because my feet hurt more when I walked, but my calves hurt more when I ran.

Since this was my longest run so far,
 I had new scenery to look at!

Because I was shuffling along for 4+ hours, I had time to think about mental tricks that I've picked up when things start to feel crappy.

  • Randomly smile. I have a way of locking my jaw into some sort of pained grimace when I run. By the time I'm done with a race, my jaw actually hurts. Plus, the second I force myself to grin like a moron, it's like my body feels some sort of relief. Seriously, try it.

  • Change your stride. Anyone that follows Galloway knows that he encourages shorter, more plentiful strides. I don't strictly follow Galloway's program, but I like a lot of what he says. I've learned that when I start to fatigue on a long run, instead of walking, it helps to quicken and shorted my stride for awhile. Or sometimes lift my knees higher for a few moments. Anything to ease the repetitive motion of using the same muscles over and over.

  • Walk for as short of a period of time as possible. This probably varies wildly for a lot of people, but for me, if I let myself walk for too long, I can not seem to get back into a run. Even if I alternate running and walking for really short periods, I have to make myself start jogging again quickly or it's over.

There's a lot of stuff in the blogosphere about fueling, sleeping, splits, etc, so I have nothing to add to that, but these little tricks have really helped me, so I felt I would share.

Now for confession time. I rarely watch reality shows. In general, I don't enjoy them. I don't watch Survivor, American Idol or Real World. Today as I planted my sorry ass on the couch for the afternoon, I stumbled across a marathon of a show called Cheer and well, I got sucked in.

It follows a group of elite cheerleaders from an gym in New Jersey called Central Jersey All-Stars and these girls are hard core. Now I was never a cheerleader or anything, but I love anything that shows people working their ass off to in competition.

Obviously, I love training and competing for things or I wouldn't be going to races all of the time, But I also showed horses very competitively when I was a kid and a teenager.  So I could relate to their struggles and successes.

Me Circa 1994. Nice high tops!

Anyway, I know how it feels to really, really want something and the the amazing feeling when you get it and the heart break when you don't. So yeah, I watched a cheer leading reality show all afternoon. And it was awesome. These girls are serious athletes.

On another note, I found this little gem when trolling Pinterest for pictures of the NYC Marathon.

Love. It.
Also, a huge thank you to my friend, Ari, for not only making muffins for our team this morning, but also for making special gluten free muffins for Tara and me. Check out her adorable blog! Lots of great recipes and running stuff. Thank you, Ari! You rock!


  1. SO PROUD OF YOU!!!! I also really loved reading your tips--I will definitely be trying some of them out. For me, I start to hear Susan's voice in my head with all of the things she's always telling us, and I just repeat them like a freak...or like they're mantras or something like that ;) I can't wait until we all cross that finish line in 3 weeks!!!

    1. Thank you! Can't wait for all of the fun team stuff in NYC and reading everyone's race recaps.

  2. YAY! on the 18 miles! That's so awesome. And speaking of awesome, holy shit that sign is amazing!!

    1. I love that sign! I'm not looking forward to freezing my ass off while I wait for the last start set. Boo. I really needed to do these 18 miles for my mental well being. I'm feeling much more confident going in. When is your start?


Thanks for reading!