Saturday, April 28, 2012

Working on my taper

So my first full marathon is in one week!  (Cox Providence Rhode Races Marathon her we come)   Which of course means this is the first time I have tapered for a full. I started cutting my mile back last week.  Today I headed out for a fabulous run on a glorious day!  I am really into running whatever distance I want when I want.  I was feeling great out there and would have loved to have gone longer, but the point is to keep some energy in the tank right.  

Is this the lavender fields of France?
No it is 3 inches tall along the side of the bike path in Rhode Island.
Purple is the color of the run!
The next door neighbors are even showing their spring purple!  Look at that sky - gorgeous!

So tomorrow I have to work.  :(  No running.  I will probably do 5 on Monday and again on Wednesday.  We will see what the weather and schedule bring!  This is a colorful season in which to be running so get out there and go running (and take some pictures of the places you love running).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Last long run before my 1st marathon

So this morning I had my husband drop me off at the start line for my upcoming Cox Providence marathon.  I am now 2 weeks out - May 6th!  It was time for the final long run and I wanted to run the race from the top.

I made two mistakes even before I started...I forgot to apply sunscreen and I forgot to take off my extra shirt before my husband drove away.  The shirt was around my waist within 9 minutes.  That seems to be my warm-up time.  If you don't know how long it takes you to get warmed up pre-race you should test it.  1 mile and I am ready to go!

I was doing fine until the 12.5 mile mark, when being the polite runner that I am, I jumped off the road and into the yard to allow the 2 passing cars more room on the road.  It only took one stride for me to hook a root and superman my way into a fully prone position.  There was a split second and no time to think about it.  Interestingly enough I hit the ground first with my water bottle in my right hand.  I road that thing down like a float plane landing on its pontoon.  That bottle saved my body!  I did end up with a bruise on my knee and a scrape on my other hand, but all in all I was in great shape.  The dog walker and the home owner were very concerned.  They had just witnessed a full blown belly flop and wanted to know if I had broken anything.  Miraculously I was essentially unharmed.  All I could think was get up, clean yourself off, and get running.

I am as much of a mental runner as I am a physical runner.  That is why I wanted to take the course from the start line.  I wanted to know how my body was going to react to the course at each rise and fall and at every twist and turn.  There has been a course change due to construction that will not be completed in time and it seems to have quite a few people concerned.  So my plan was to run as far as the hill that has been added after mile 20.  Interestingly enough as I approached that hill all I could think was that it was nothing after the 20 miles I had already run.  That was a pretty good feeling!  Something that I can really use on race day in my mental confidence column.  The farthest I have gone in a training run is 21.25, today was a fraction off at 21.15.  I don't know how I will finish those last 5 miles, but I know that after 21 I will not let myself down.  One foot in front of the other.  The final 5 is nothing in comparison to the 21 already finished.  I know I will be hurting and out of steam, but I also know I will get it done!

For those of you who have already done a full marathon, what are your thoughts on the final 5-6 miles?  Did any of you train beyond 20 miles?  That seems to be the common max training distance that everyone throws around.  I hope race day is a little cooler than it was today.  I was seriously sweating the whole way.  At least there was a cool breeze coming up the bay.  The water stops will be a huge help.  I will carry my own Clif shot blocks, but they can supply the water.  Now I just need to taper without feeling out of shape and heavy.  I am thinking of shorter runs more often.  Any thoughts with 2 week to go?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

9.5 solo miles plus 1 mile w/ dog and daughter

Yesterday I did 9.5 miles on my own.  The day was made for running!  It was in the 60s and I had on a yellow tank top.  I felt like I blended in with the forsythia along the path.

When I got back to the house I picked up my youngest and the dog and headed back out for a cool down mile.  The dog was so cute.  She kept checking on my daughter.  Maybe she wanted to make sure she was okay or she just wanted to know why she was running with us.

We are planning on doing a Girls on the Run 5K in June, my youngest and I so she is going to try and get in a little running with her mom and the dog.  Sounds like a plan to me.  Her longest race so far is the Kids mile at Disney during Princess race weekend.  So this is a step up in her racing career!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Longest Run Ever - 21.25 marathon training

I headed out today to get my long run in for the week.  I am training for the Cox Providence Rhode Race marathon on May 6th.  I am not using a specific training plan.  I am going with the advice that if you can run 20 you can run a full and your wall is the farthest distance you have run in the past 2 weeks.

I am focusing on my mental game approaching the distance as five 5 mile sets.  I am also expanding my brain around the notion that I can run for miles and miles and miles!  You know just relax and do it.

I don't run with all of the electronic gear that others have.  I just use a Times Ironman Triathlon watch and a step counter when I feel like it.  So when I set out for distance I figure an average of 10 minutes a mile and worry about the exact distance after the run, unless I must know ahead of time and map it pre-run.  I find that I actually go farther when I go with the 10 minute mile approach.  So today I ran out 1:36 and then back for a total of  3:28.  In the end I went 21.25 miles and averaged 9:45 minutes per mile.

In addition to working on my metal game today I also got to work on running in crappy weather.  The way out was beautiful and I could not imagine why people were walking with umbrellas.  It all became clear when I turned around.  The sky was very dark and within 10 minutes I was being pelted with cold wind, hail & rain.  I thought about waiting it out somewhere, but thought they don't stop the clock in a marathon when the weather turns.  It was horrible for 15-20 minutes and then cleared only to resume again with a soaking rain that saturated my shoes and socks.  I survived the weather and the miles with just enough time to shower and head back out for ballet and soccer with the girls.  I did not even have time to check my distance. :(

Never having run a full marathon before, I won't know if this is the best approach or me or not until I test it on race day.  For now it is what I have got and we will see soon enough how it works out.  I am not concerned with my final time on race day.  For my first full I just want to finish it and then we will see what comes next in terms of adjusting my training plan (such as it is) to improve.

I run for fun and to be outside on my own.  So in the end it is all good!  I am open to suggestions though if you have any advice you would like to share with a first time marathoner.  I will let you know how it all goes on May 6th!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cox Providence Rhode Race - the northern miles

On May 6th I am going to be standing in front of The Rhode Island Foundation waiting to start my first full marathon with the the Cox Providence Rhode Races folks.  Hopefully the weather will be like it was yesterday, okay maybe 2-3 degrees warmer with a little less wind.

Downtown Providence near the start line.  The building is part of the old train station.

Mile 2.5 in the marathon (mile 10 on my run yesterday).
Whole Foods was a great place to use the facilities and refill my bottle.
 Spectators on race day can grab a morning bite here before the marathoners head to East Providence
and the 1/2 marathoners head up the East Side.

Looking across the cove at the Metacomet Country Club at mile 5.5.

Beautiful Bullocks Cove at mile 10.5.  At low tied you can see the hulls of 3 boats from years gone by.

At mile 20.25 I was met with this sign!
I had stopped to chat with some workers on the East Bay Bike Path about a mile before the sign.  I asked them if the EBBP would be open again in time for the Coxs Marathon.  They indicated that the construction was now scheduled to be finished in mid-May and the marathon was being rerouted on the Veterans Memorial Parkway both coming and going.  The sign seemed to confirm what they said. 

At mile 24 we head across the Washington Bridge back into Providence.
The Brown University boathouse is down there on the water.

Coming off the west end of the Washington Bridge there are stairs and a bike ramp leading down to street level.

India Point Park is near the base of the bridge on the route out and back for both the full and the half...and yes that is a playground in the picture.  Looks like their is a water and Gatorade stop near it.

At mile 25.25 we head under the I-Way bridge for I-195.
They managed to make the new bridge very decorative.

Downtown Providence here we come!  

The Courthouse is set into the Benefit Street hillside.  Get ready to turn left and finish this thing!

We crossed the finish line and there is the skating rink all filled with beverages and snacks.
Now we just need to get down another flight of stairs to get to it!
There are some viewing bleachers on the left there to kick back and recover on.
So those are the photos I took yesterday on my 18.25 mile run.  I was entirely on the marathon course.  I just started mid-course and had to resort the photos.  I arrived downtown at lunchtime.  It was kind of crazy  seeing everyone all bundled up against the mid to high 50s wind.  I was running in my Nuu-Muu dress and already had my long sleeve shirt tied around my waist.  I ran will all of my food stuff (Margarita Clif Shot Blocks & and a Luna bar) in my dress pockets and my phone in my water bottle pouch so it was easy to take pictures.  I decided I am NOT wearing my Jockey skimmies and will be wearing my regular compression shorts under my running dress.  I also familiarized myself with where I need more anti-chaffing gel.  All in all I think I have this marathon planning under control.  I am going to get at least one more long run in.  Maybe I will even run the course from the top.  Hopefully the race course will be officially adjusted to account for the continued construction.  Jumping a bridge that is out on the bike path is not what I want to be doing between miles 21-23.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Testing running gear : Nuu-Muu & Jockey

Tonight I headed out for a short run on a beautiful day in the lower 60s.  I picked up a Nuu-Muu running dress at the WDW Princess Half Marathon expo and I wanted to try it out.  I am considering wearing it for my first full marathon at the Cox Providence Rhode Race and I wanted to see how it preformed.  I had my concerns not 1 block from the house.  It has a double pouch in the back and I loaded it up with my phone, house key & pack of Clif Shot Blocks.  They seemed to be moving too much right out of the door.  I thought about grabbing my belt, but said give it a real try.  At which point the stuff settled in the pouch and I forgot about it.

I was also testing a new pair of slipshorts from Jockey.  I picked them up for under dresses, but immediately thought they might work well under running dresses and running skirts as well.  I think I might go back for another pair, one size smaller, and in black.  With the 25% off coupon on the catalog they are only $15 not a bad deal.  I felt rather liberated in the running dress with the slipshorts underneath.  There was nothing tight or binding on me anywhere!  I am going to try the combo on a longer run this weekend if the weather permits.  It needs to be in the 60s or I would be too cold.

Post-run smile!

Check out those Skimmies Slipshorts!

Self Portrait!

Jockey catalog
I will let you know how they do on the longer run.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Setting out on the Cox Providence 1/2 marathon course

On Friday night I set out to re-familiarize myself with the Cox Providence Rhode Race 1/2 marathon.  I ran the race in 2011.  That was the one and only time I had been on some of the roads along the northern portion of the course.  So I printed out a map, marked it up with legible street names, slipped in into a plastic page protector and set out to hit at least part of the course.  My run started out up in the Summit neighborhood of Providence's East Side.  I ran south to pick up the course at Humbolt and Tabor.

I was already warmed up when I hit the official course at Humbolt and Tabor near mile 2 2/3 (note Gano becomes Tabor).

Nice yellow house!

This is actually the 2nd playground along the course. 
Located at Elton and Humbolt is a great play for little kids.

I am guessing it is the oldest playground/garden along the course. 

It is fully gated to keep kids in.

Hello firefighters! 
They will be on you right on Humbolt after the playground just before mile 3. 

Just after mile 3 the course swings left out onto Blackstone Blvd.

This fine lady is out along the Blvd. path near mile 3.5.  She was once in Witherby Park down near mile 10.5. 
The city moved her up to this well traveled location so that she would be better appreciated. 
"A Memorial to Young Womanhood, also known as The Spirit of Youth, is a statue of a young woman that stands alongside the running path on Blackstone Boulevard where it intersects with Clarendon Avenue. It memorializes Constance Witherby, born September 5, 1913, who died at the age of sixteen on August 30, 1929 of an unexpected heart attack while vacationing in the Swiss Alps. As a girl at the Lincoln School, Constance wrote precocious and prolific poetry. In 1939, her mother, Mrs. Dorothy H. W. Hunt, published her poetry in a limited printed volume called Sunshine & Stardust. The runners of Blackstone Boulevard and the community members of East Providence have since adopted Constance’s statue, covering her with flower garlands in spring and sitting in front of her on one of two granite benches."
“The wind roars by I feel it blow, and know that I am free to go.”  (a phrase from one of Constance’s poems)

The Lippet Park Playground is located at the top of the Blvd. near mile 4 2/3.  You can catch runners going by here at 4 2/3 as well as 7 3/4 as they head back south.  This intersection is always filled with supporters.

The Lippet Park fountain is a beautiful piece of historic architecture along the course.

Just north of Lippit Park you enter Pawtucket.  This southern edge of the city is filled with nice homes and cute neighborhoods.  The loop down Oak Hill and back up Marbury is a great example.

Oak Hill neighborhood.  Look there I am in the lower left!

Yeah - I guess you have to watch out for Greyhounds along the course.

The 4th public playground along the course is just south of the water stop at
Francis J. Varieur Elementary School near mile 6 2/3.

It is south of the school.

Heading along Alfred Stone Rd. I noticed this sign - Entering Providence...

... and in your case leaving Pawtucket.

The walls along the cemetery seem to go on for miles!

The entrance to Swan Point Cemetery will be on your left at mile 8.

The old trolley shelter is just across from the entrance to the cemetery.

Butler Campus / Hospital is next up on the left. 
They looked like they would be putting flowers in any day.

You leave the Blvd. behind when you make the left turn onto President. 
Make sure you look around.  These are some of the East Side's nicest houses!

A hillside estate & I mean hillside, as in watch the hill. 
At least you are headed downhill!

At this point you are around mile 9.5 with a great view of the river.

Do not head the double stop signs and get your motor on you are almost into your final 5K!

Naragansett Boat Club on the Seekonk River just past mile 10.

There is the Henderson Bridge that took the marathoners from the East Side of Providence into East Providence.  Another quarter mile and you will be under it!

I love the weathervane!

The old transportation bridge is permanently tilted skyward. 
Look at those beautiful blossoms in the foreground!

Back up at the Summit my run finished near Seven Stars Bakery.  This a must have experience if you are needing coffee, pastry, or a baguette sandwich after the race.  4th Street and Hope, Providence.

My map - The page protector worked great.  I ran with it in my hand when I was unfamiliar with where to turn next and stuck it in my pouch when I was confident I knew what I was doing.  It was about 50/50.
They put up the turn by turn directions this week.  I should have printed that on the back of the map.

All in all it is an enjoyable urban course.  There should be plenty of people out cheering you on.  It doubles back on itself in enough places that you get twice the spectator bang for your buck.  Plus if you are a spectator there are plenty of places of occupy the kids and get a drink and a bite to eat along the course.  It was a beautiful day for a run last year when I raced and I am hoping for the best again this year!