Sunday, February 10, 2013

Taper Time, Body Weight, Perspective...Bulleted Marathon Training Reflections

It's been awhile since I've had a bullet style post but today seems like one of those days.  One of those moments where I have many thoughts running through my head and a definite need to write...just for me...and some of you that enjoy updates.  And just to get let things flow.


  • Taper Time! Today's 15 miles was the last run of my 18 week training cycle before TAPER starts. Where did the time go?  
  • Heavy Legs. After last Sunday's 3 hour 15 minute easy run (is running that long ever really "easy"?  I guess I should say Easy pace) which ended up being 23 miles, my legs were a little dead this week.  Heavy.  Things just felt harder.  But that's normal for the last peak week of training before taper, right?  
  • This training cycle was officially the first marathon training from start to finish where I've had a coach guide me through every step of the way.  What a GIFT this has been.  It has allowed me to really relax and TRUST.  I've also learned so much about training efficiently. Marathon training doesn't have to be HARD or FAST or make you feel like you are exhausted every step of the way.  My coach has had me doing just enough. I may not be setting 5k and 10k PRs right now...or even close to having that speed but I do feel confident about marathon pace and threshold workouts.  
  • Steady Training. I had one week of this training plan where I was slightly injured. But I was calm about it all and really kept things in perspective.  I took a few steps back, stopped running, cross trained and rested.  I honestly didn't know what the rest of the plan would hold for me.  I thought I might be more seriously injured than I was but things worked out for the last 4 weeks of training to be strong with 60-65 miles every week.  
  • Perspective.  Really, I've kept such a good perspective this entire marathon cycle.  I've seen running as what it is for me right now.   FUN.  I haven't been super ambitious about being the fastest I've ever been or running the most weekly miles as I possibly can.  I've just wanted running to take the right place for me as I am preparing for a move across country and trying to be the best I can be at helping my kids make some awesome memories before that.  So happy with the way things have gone.  
  • Such SUPPORT.  I have to say...my husband has been so incredibly supportive of my training.  I get most of my training runs done during the day before he gets home but on the weekends, he has let me sleep in and then been cool about me running my long runs on Sundays whenever I feel like going.  This usually means me leaving the house leisurely (after coffee and slow start) about 10:30 or so.  I can't say enough how much I value him.  He's my biggest support in life.  Always has been.  Love him so much.  
  • Time management.  I've written before about the question of "How do you find the time?" in regards to motherhood and marathon training. So much easier now than ever since I have some kids in school.  Really it is just about being efficient with your time.  I use every minute of my day.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have exactly 1 hour and 30 minutes to get a run in after dropping my son off at preschool and picking my daughter up from kinder.  I use that 1 hour and 30 minutes to the full extent.  Granted, I'm always nasty and sweaty when I pick her up.  I do volunteer in the classrooms on Tuesday and Thursday every other week so on these days I usually have to use the treadmill.  This works too.  
  • Treadmill vs. Road.  I've come to hate the treadmill.  But it works and it helps me get my runs in. However, I've been so fortunate to NOT have to use it much at all this time around.  Most of my runs have been outside.  I've been so blessed with my Tues and Thurs time slots to help with this.  I also have the best neighbors that ever were and I will miss them so so much when we move away.  Our kids are best friends and we often trade watching the kids.  
  • Music while running?  No thank you.  This time around, almost every single one of my runs have been with NO MUSIC.  Just my thoughts.  My focus.  And I love it!  Even my 23 mile run was alone with no music.  Quiet.  In fact, I don't even think about much on my runs lately.  I think about my run.  My form, my focus, the moment, THE NOW.  I love this!  
  • I've learned more about myself as a runner in this training cycle than EVER before.  I've learned about what shoes work well for me right now, gels I like, things I need to do to prevent injury, that just because I can doesn't mean I should, and just an overall centered feeling with myself and my running.  
  • LOVE for my BODY.  Not only have I taken the time for epsom salt baths EVERY NIGHT for over a month now, I've made time for lots of the important things like rolling, icing, compression, taping, stretching and LOVING and POSITIVE messages to me.  OH, and SLEEP.  
  • Body Weight and being TONED.  Doesn't matter to me so much this time.  Seriously. Last few training cycles I've just gotten too thin IMO.  I paid attention to weight and I did more to stay toned.  Nothing wrong with being toned.  Doing Jillian once or twice a week.  I love feeling and looking like that.  But just wasn't my focus this time around.  Only so much time.  And I've realized that I don't need to look HARD to run my best.  Ha!  Don't get me wrong, I'm still in great shape and I love my body...I've just kind of let that go.  And I'm about 5 to 8 pounds heavier than I was last year when I ran Boston.  I'm 5'4 but 125 is a way better weight for me than under 120.  Weight is so different for everyone.  My friends don't believe me when I tell them that I'm 125...all my life I've gotten that.  But it is a good healthy place for me.  If I weighed the same as my other 5'4 running friends, I'd be so so so unhealthy looking for me.  There is no way I could weigh 110-115 and be well nourished.  Again, so different for everyone because they look great at this weight...STRONG!  Anyway, I'm happy being a bit softer this time around and loving my body as it is.  After my marathon I can go back to getting ripped with Jillian.  Ha! 
  • Nutrition.  I just stocked up on all sorts of good things to eat over the next few weeks: flax, chia seeds, kale, spinach, oats, cottage cheese, grains, almonds, etc. etc. etc.  LOVE eating good.  After my salad with quinoa and grilled chicken last night I just felt so energized.  I shouldn't tell you about the 9:30 p.m snack of 3 pieces of pizza and half a pint of ice cream.  Ahhhh, I had a moment of weakness.  Does it make it better that the crust was very very thin?  Probably not.  I've got to knock that crap off.  :) We almost NEVER have ice cream in the house but my daughter had a sleepover on Friday and we had it left over from that.  Yikes! 
  • Keeping my Training Specifics more on the quiet side.  You know, I haven't posted too much about my training this time around.  I don't do Daily Mile or other forms of publicly logging my mileage and workouts.  I guess I've just been a bit more on the quiet side this time around.  And it has actually been nice.  Maybe that is part of having a coach to discuss running with and give me my workouts.  I don't have the same need for that social aspect that comes with sharing workouts.  I have a few friends that I e-mail workouts if they ask or if I feel super energized about them.  I also have a friend Stephanie (super speedy girl!) who has been there to run with sometimes and chat with me about marathon pace and strategy, etc.  Thanks Steph.  Can't wait to read about your last half marathon..can't stop thinking of it!  
  • Piano and Cello.  I can't get enough of piano and cello music lately!  Two groups that are always on my pandora stations:  The Piano Guys and 2 Cellos.  LOVE.  I especially love The Piano Guys version of A Thousand Years (if you can get over the kind of cheesy part of two guys playing music in a forest, it really is beautiful music).  I listen to it OFTEN.  I mention this as part of these training bullets because this kind of music has been a big part of my CALM this time around.  
  • It has been so fun to look back over the last 2-3 years since I started Runninghood.  So much has changed.  Inside and out.  And I've learned so much.  I've also gained an incredible amount of richness in my life with wisdom from many of you and some very very dear friendships that I'm certain will last a lifetime.  Writing a blog might seem pathetically self-indugent to some but oh well...it isn't for everyone.  I'm happy to have my blog.  
  • We leave for Boston only 3 weeks after we move to Asheville, NC. I'm excited to be in Boston with my husband.  It is a special trip for us. This will be our third time traveling there for the marathon together. I'm also excited that I will just be running Boston for FUN this year.  Who knows if I'll even run it.  I've got to assess how I'm feeling after my March 3rd marathon.  No matter what, I'll be there.  And I'll get to see people I love! 
  • So Bring on the 3 week taper.  And the move to Asheville, North Carolina (if you're from there...gosh, I'd love to hear from you)!  


Happy Sunday,
Amanda 

48 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post. I love the perspective/time management piece. While I don't have the kiddos in the picture, teaching and running a new practice amongst many other things does call for some focus.

    And the body weight thing, thanks for your comments on that. The crazy thing is I'm also 5'4 and 125. Raced too skinny, paid the price, now feel awesome.

    Happy taper!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi fellow 5'4 and 125! yay! Most of my friends at 5'4 who are distance runners are well below this. I feel awesome too. So so healthy! Thanks Adrienne.

      Delete
    2. I'm 5'4 too, but hanging out at 118. I'm trying to gain some weight now. I'm much happier around 125! Hooray for being 5'4!

      Delete
  2. Thank you for #2. I needed to read that one! I have 5 weeks left and one long 22 miler planned. And I'm definitely getting to that point.

    I love reading about your journey so much. You are one of the running blogs I feel like I connect with. SO thank you for sharing you with the world! You are a gift!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, thanks girl. I feel the same about your blog and YOU.

      Delete
  3. If you get too light you lose muscle. And people don't realise that you weigh a little more because you have muscle. And that's why you run fast.

    Enjoy your taper. I'll look forward to your race report.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true about the losing muscle part. Thanks Char.

      Delete
  4. Wishing you lots of happy and perfect running on March 3rd! Can't believe you got all those miles in :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey speedy lady! Thanks and you know, fitting in the miles this time seemed pretty easy actually. I think it was all with the good plans set for me..lots of easy running in there too.

      Delete
  5. I hear ya. I am 5'5" and probably ran my marathon around 130 pounds. I say "probably" because I *stopped* weighing myself before I *started* carb loading. HA! Even at 125, I start looking sort of scary skinny. You look GREAT, Amanda. I think you are right at the weight you should be.

    Good luck with the rest of your taper! My legs felt like CRAP for most of mine, but I still pulled off a nice PR. Hope it's the same for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't weigh myself often. I don't think I have weighted myself in at least a month or two at this point. HECK, I don't even know what I weigh for real. Guessing 125. Thanks Allison. You look great too from what I've seen. 130 and 5'5 sounds strong! I've heard so many people feeling like crap during taper. I'm expecting a little fatigue. :)

      Delete
  6. Great post. Glad that you are enjoying this training and that you are enjoying life a bit more. I did think that it was great that you mentioned your weight not being an issue this time. I am 5'6.5 and I weight 135, but I am a size 4 and have a lot of muscle. I am very okay with it. I tell people that I work with my weight and they do not believe me. But, I workout for 2+ hours each day including running, walking, biking, lifting weights, HIIT, etc...I used to be 125 and I felt that I looked sickly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Your weight and height sounds perfect...healthy. Yeah, nobody believes me either...well, they act surprised. I don't lift weights anymore so I'm not the 130 I was in college but still have a lot of muscle. Under 120 is sickly for me. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  7. I can't believe you are tapering already... where did that cycle go??? Love that you're enjoying running without music, I'm the same, works for me. And I'm jealous of the coach- I'd love to let go of the thinking side of it for a training cycle. Enjoy taper!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, where did it go?? Yes, no music. Really glad for my coach. His coaching style fits WELL with me. A good match.

      Delete
  8. I am so excited to come watch you run in March! Your training is going so well and you seem to be in such a GREAT place with everything :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marjorie. Let's hope for decent weather...yes?! :) I am in a great place with everything. Just balanced and peaceful. I'm not my running and my running isn't me. Enjoying the process. Exciting to hear about rowing again.

      Delete
  9. This was a great post to read. You have such a great attitude going into your marathon. Good luck and enjoy your rest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Robin. A good attitude has been a huge blessing this time around. Running is just in its right place in my life now. It adds to my life but ISN'T my life.

      Delete
  10. First thing that caught my eye was "perspective". You stated early where you felt running fit in your life right now and you've been so VERY true to it. The entire training cycle. Working hard daily, determined, accomplishing the tasks set out in front of you but not getting lost in it! ENJOYING running every step of the way and in the process making some really great progress!!! I've admired you GREATLY this training cycle! And I've voiced my thoughts on how I think the type of training you've done has set you up so very well for the marathon!! Thumbs up to the coach.

    Body weight such an interesting topic. I have 3 good friends who are about 5'4 and weight is actually quite a bit different but you are all nearly the same size! It's all about where your body performs well, stays injury free etc. You look so perfectly healthy, fit, and fast:) And strength. Your focus this time has been just right for you!! Exactly right. I have never been able to carry a heavy strength program deep into marathon training. Base building stage and in between cycles and then just a little maintenance as it just becomes too much for what I can handle-what I want to handle. I do love the gym though so at times, like now,when I'm not so focused, I make sacrifices in being able to run as many miles for that too. Babble babble.

    I understand quiet training specifics. TOTALLY. I have almost always had a person or a couple of people I share some workouts with but I often find myself withdrawing when I've attempted training through social media or making my blog very training specific. Heck, for years I never even mentioned a thing on FB about training and I'm still pretty quiet there!! I think a coach definitely helps eliminate the need for a training connection of some sort there though! I do love hearing about your workouts when you share them though! Many big smiles the past few months.

    Yes, piano. Your mom actually got me playing lately. A lot. I love music. So much. Such a big part of my life/soul that has been pretty idle for awhile...Gosh, I've missed it though. My husband has missed it.

    Excited to see you in Boston and meet Waylon. Yes, ALWAYS a special trip when you get a chance to get away with the one you love!!

    How's that for an email comment. This is longer than an email I think and I could type more-ha! Soak up your taper! Keep loving on yourself! I'm so excited for you sweet friend....So so excited for everything in store for you in your life the next few months!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank You Jenn. Wow, what a great coffee time with you and your comment this morning. Ha! Thank you. Piano again?! I love this. More in e-mail....
      Happy Monday to you! I might ahve to print your comment here out. :)

      Delete
  11. So much to comment on, let see if I can keep this under a novel length

    - Enjoy taper madness!!!
    - My legs are always heavy after my long training sessions, lately, I been more tired then normal after going longer. I hope it is just the lack of sunshine for now, when things ramp up, I will need more post energy
    - Steady training, everyone that asks me the secret of training, i always say consistency, consistency, consistency, it makes all the difference in the world
    - Triathlon do not allow music on the course, it is against the rules to race with music, so I always found it so interesting that runners could race with music. I tend not to, since I cant race with it, why train with it. But I always enjoy learning why people decide to listen or not listen to music while training or running
    - One cheat meal a week is good for you
    - For years, I never talked about training (or blogged about it) this year is different, I am still not 100% why I am this year, I kinda do
    - Perspective - I was recently talking to a friend that my view of the sport has changed over the years. I been thinking about posting this, not so sure if I want to or not, but like you, it has changed, for the better
    - I am racing in NC in October, in WIlmington, where ever that is

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love your comments. Thanks.
      * Yes, I like the no music because there is already too much going on in this head of mine. Even then , I try to shut my own noise off and just focus on the present moment. With three LOUD kids, music is just more noise in my ears. Such a zen moment when I'm out on a 20 mile run alone with only the sound of the wind and trees and my breathing.
      * Yes, I cheat every Friday with pizza. But then also whenever opportunity comes up. Ha! You know, I just keep my house full of healthy food and I eat what we have. and I don't deny myself anything that comes my way if we are visiting or decide to go to dinner or order thai food on a WEdnesday night. :)
      * I think talking/blogging about training can be a really good thing. It can help with motivation, validating, connecting with other people of similar levels/goal. So so so good. A source of accountability. Now that I have a coach, I have that with him so I don't need it as much. Also, as I said, I'm just a different place in my life. I'm a little quieter with my goals as I kind of go within after a rough 2012. I'll be back to putting it out there more and saying things like "Bam! just finished strong with the last 4 miles at 7:29" ha ha. But for now, I'm enjoying building my confidence quietly.
      * Yes, blog about the perspective thing. I'd like to read this.
      Wilmington...on the coast! That was an option for us when deciding where we wanted to move for this little adventure. 4 hours from where I'll be.

      Delete
  12. Taper!!!! Love this time, when all that work starts to piece itself together. Think it's nice that you're doing things a bit differently this time around, and it sounds like you are really enjoying every single step of every single mile. The distractions that come up in life can really take away from the enjoyment of training and solitude of those peaceful miles, warms my heart that you've been able to hush all that and enjoy your journey! Can't believe that your move is just around the corner now either.

    And the weight thing...been thinking about writing a posting about this myself on the blog since I had such a rough year last year. Honestly, I think it was due to the fact that my body had pretty much nothing to it. Now that I've put on some lbs., miles feel different but I'm not exhausted and starving all the time. Such a sensitive topic, and not sure if I'm quite ready to press publish on that posting yet but you've lit a fire under me that it's something that maybe should be discussed a bit more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Britt. Thank you. And yes, I'm in a good place with really enjoying running and the process of training. 60 plus miles a week as seemed so easy this time around. Just an enjoyable time in life despite the big move coming. Feels good to be coming out of a rough 2012...what an emotional year for me. But now things just seem simple and safe and good and I'm happy just being.

      The weight thing, yes, when you're ready, I'd love to read your thoughts. Definitely a personal and sensitive subject that I think many shy away from. I've never mentioned my weight on here but I think it is because I'm just now at a point where I really see that I've finally FULLY embraced HeALTHY weight for me. I don't think I've ever been overly obsessed but I think in the back of my mind, that number on the scale was a control thing. I related lower weight with fit which I now see is so not the case. The extra fat on me has done wonders for my energy!! So many people made comments the last few marathon training cycles about how skinny I was and I just couldn't see it. I was skinny. Not necessarily too skinny to where I was unhealthy because I wasn't. I was still strong and athletic, etc. But I wasn't at my idea weight...I'm much healthier now...ALL AROUND. And it is only a matter of 5ish pounds more. My jeans are a little tighter but so what! I wear leggings and cotton athletic dresses most of the time anyway..ha ha. I just feel and look better...oh, and I have a little bit of boobs again. not much...but more than I used to last year. :)

      Be where you are now Britt. Write when you're ready but I'd love to hear what you have to say. Always do. Always love reading you and seeing you grow and unfold as you share your life with us.

      Delete
  13. So excited for you and the new adventure that you are about to embark on. You are going to make so many fun memories in Ashville with your family. I am a little bummed that I didn't register for Boston after all. I probably could have ran the marathon for fun with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tasha. I knew that I'd regret it if I didn't register but again, I don't know if I'll really even run it. But lots of friends going. I read your blog...just need to get over to comment. Just keep listening to your body. You're awesome!
      xo

      Delete
  14. You're such a smart girl! This is great post for any female runner to read. Truth: marathoners come in ALL shapes and sizes. I was amazed last year when I worked the Olympic Trials- not all the gals were string beans, and YES, they were blazing fast! Some had larger upper bodies, some lower, some string beans, some more like bean stalks, but all beautiful and FAST and ATHLETIC.

    Not one, but THREE of my VERY close runner girlfriends have fallen victim to eating disorders. Not only did it destroy their runner, but in the end destroyed their lives for a few years. (Thankfully, all of them are healed now and healthy.)It's such a slipper slope. We hear "thin is better" all the time, but really... HEALTHY is best, and that HEALTHY is different for everyone.

    And shame on anyone to pass up good chocolate; I don't care WHO you are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rebecca , thank you for your thoughts here. Yes yes yes! Healthy is the best and different for all of us...emotional, spiritual, physical health. I feel healthy right now. And bring on the chocolate. :) IN moderation. xo

      Delete
  15. You sound like you are in such a good place with how this training has gone - it's great to hear! Enjoy the taper and I'll be on the lookout for you at Boston!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Michelle. Boston is going to ROCK this year! Always does.

      Delete
  16. I loving The Piano Guys' version of A Thousand Years. WOW! Thank you for turning me on to it.

    I'm glad you are having fun with this marathon. I can't wait to hear about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, so glad! Love them. Especially that song. Thanks!

      Delete
  17. Love reading this post, Amanda, and hearing where your head and heart are at today. In such a good place!! I love that you are enjoying running and that it fits in your life. You are a perfect mix of mom, wife and athlete as well as YOU and all that entails!! I am always amazed at the fun things you do with and for your kids and how efficiently you fit running into everything, too. And, thanks to you, I have taken about 15 baths in the last 20 days after taking ZERO baths in the last 10 years!! (I don't count ice baths as "baths"!!)

    Okay, I'm sort of rambling at this point but just wanted to say thanks for sharing your healthy perspective on life and running and weight. Oh, and running in silence. I've been listening to music on most of my runs and want to try listening to my thoughts instead. I could use some time with just myself, I think. :) First, I have to get over this strep throat and get back on track with my training. Ugh. Disappointing setback for me but I'll get back running soon, I hope. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristen, your comments are so great. Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, LOVE the baths. Same with me...zero before this last month. Ha! And now..every night!

      Hope you feel better soon! xo

      Delete
  18. Fun to catch up on your life. I love your perspective about this training cycle and about life. You are right where you need to be and I am so happy you are embracing the training and enjoying it. Less pressure is so much more enjoyable and we do at the end of the day do this silly running thing for fun right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachelle! Always great to hear from you. Yes, for fun! And you do a darn good job at having fun AND racing FAST! And you're still so young!

      Delete
  19. Love the bullets!! Sounds like you are on to track to have a great marathon!!!
    Funny, I just said the same thing about people thinking that blogging was self-indulgent, the other day in a post. It sort-of is, but it is such a great way to express our thoughts!!
    My youngest son is a cello player! I love the sound of his music!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kim. Thanks. Yes, I remember you writing this and it has stuck in my head. You're right , people do think it is self indulgent sometimes but I love it. I bet you love hearing him play. So cool! Love cello!

      Delete
  20. Awesome Job with everything Amanda! You will do great in your marathon!I really enjoy reading your posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, thanks so much! Excited to catch up on your posts soon too!

      Delete
  21. Enjoy your taper!!! Hope to see in Boston or NC :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am so glad you made it through injury free. I have gone both ways with marathon training when it comes to weight. In the end, I don't care as long as I don't get too thin. Then I hear it from my mom! haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much. And Yes, too thin is no good! I'll hear it from everyone else if I do get that way.

      Delete
  23. Yay for getting to the taper, especially feeling great and injury free. I love reading your posts- they are so honest and you seem so relatable, like I know you. (Please take that as a compliment and not in a weird stalker way!!) It sounds like you have quite a full calendar for the next couple of months, but your positive attitude and optimistic outlook is great. Thanks for the refreshing reminder :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Erin. I feel similarly about reading your blog. I take that in the best way possible and makes me feel so good...like I've truly come out of this funk I was in so much of last year. Good to feel like myself again and know that others are feeling my energy. :)

      Delete
  24. Hey there. Better late than never, right? Sorry, I am more interested in your running than the stridebox :)

    I have noticed that you have been very quiet this time around with the training. And though I haven;t said much to you about it, I took it as a sign that you have been very focused on your race and not concerned with much of anyone else's training- something GOOD. I believe your coach is prepping you in a smart way for a very strong race. Won't it be wonderful to have such a great finish on a course that means so much to you? :) Relaxing with a glass of wine POST race :)

    Racing weight is a touchy subject. I think we all know when we are dipping too low, but I see a STRONG and fast runner in you. Glad you found a fuel you like!

    Sleep can offset so much of the other stuff. It is truly a blessing that Waylon is letting you sleep on sundays and run at your leisure. That's what having the kids get a bit older does too. It has helped here, anyway.

    Congrats to you on finishing the last long run on tired legs. :) I will be watching to see how you do. Would love an email if the site doesn't post right away.

    ReplyDelete