Sunday, January 31, 2010

What I have learned (and am relearning) about training for a marathon from doing one

1. Runners lube is your best friend.
2. Training for a marathon means that you are going to do have to do a LOT of running for about six months before the race. Suck it up.
3. It's best to get up early and get your miles in then wait to do it after work, because you will come up with a zillion excuses not to once you're off work. Better to get it over and done with.
4. Once you are done with running in the morning, it is a HUGE relief and you will also be in a great mood for the rest of the day.
5. Follow a marathon program religiously!!! Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT think that it is okay to not do enough mileage or that you can make up the miles if you miss days! You WILL get injured!
6. Do not think that you can jump from running 3 miles to running 6 miles without properly weaning your body into it. I tried that and got a hairline fracture in my foot. Those suck.
7. There is nothing better then casually mentioning in conversation how long you ran that day like it was nothing.
8. It is amazing what your body can do, if you train it right. After training for two months, I was able to do 8- 10 mile runs as easily as walking and my body started craving long runs!
9. Once you start running long distances, you start comparing all distances to whether or not you could run them. Stuck in traffic? You start thinking you should just desert the car and run to the destination.
10. Losing a toenail while training is almost inevitable and not that big of a deal. They grow back.
11. Watch where you're running, especially if you're running on the sidewalk. They are uneven and leaves cover holes in the sidewalk!
12. Garbage in, garbage out. Don't think that you can eat fast food and then do a long run the next day. You'll feel it!
13. On the same note, don't think that you can stay out all night and then get up early and do a long run. It doesn't work, unless you're 21.
14. When getting up at the crack of dawn to go running, think of all the reasons why you're doing the marathon.
15. When running hills during training, I pictured an angel pushing me up or my father lifting me up with a rope. Believe it or not it worked for me.
16. You can run longer and farther with someone else, and it makes running really enjoyable. I've had some of my best conversations running alongside someone.
17. Massages really do help with training and for recuperation! I had one before the marathon and one right after and I was fine within 3 days, and even went on a business trip to South Carolina without any major problems.
18. Don't get running shoes and then use them for everyday walking as well as running. You'll wear them out sooner and get injured easier (read: hairline fracture/ shin splints).
19. It's good to find other marathoners to talk about training with because other people will tire of listening to it after a while.
20. Telling people you are training for a marathon never gets old!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

First Day of Training!

Today was the first day of training with Team in Training for the marathon to kick off 18 weeks of training. It was such a pleasure to meet up with the Central team (about 100 people?), which is only one team out of three- there is also a North team and the South team in San nice to see the support for Team in Training!

I'm always amazed how incredibly friendly people are in San Diego, and how happy they are to live here. It was also so nice to see how happy people in Team in Training are to be doing the program- so meeting up at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to start the run was like being in Disneyland, everyone was sooooo thrilled to be there! Yippee, horray, we're training for a marathon! There was so much pride in what we are doing, all the alumni were wearing Team in Training t-shirts and jackets and showing off pins saying how many marathons they did...I would have to say there were about 60% alumni there! There were also about 15 mentors, four coaches, two assistant coaches...with signs and cameras and all these yay rah things that I never would have thought of, like signs along the running route saying all these facts about leukemia and why we are doing it.

Learned some new stretches for my shins today, which were very helpful! Partnered up with someone to hold each other up and first:
1. Went up on our tip toes facing forward
2. Went up on our heels facing forward
3. Had our heels close by with toes facing out and up on tip toes
4. Our heels close by with toes facing out and up on heels
5. Our toes close together with heels out and up on toes
6. Our toes close together with heels out and up on heels
I was also told that as a new (well, returning) runner that shin splints are very common, and it's best to roll a tennis ball under my foot to prevent/ help heal shin splints. Also, if you rub your arch, it helps it as well.

I went with the A group, the beginners group, to do 3.1 miles, running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute. Felt pretty great the first mile and a half, then felt like I was going to puke. So I ran 1 minute then walked 3 minutes (okay, that's being generous) until the end. The picture doesn't really capture my beet red face, but I was happy to be done!

I'm now limping a little bit and my legs feel like lead and I've been SOOO tired all day long. This is going to be a LONG process and hard on my body and I'm starting to wonder why I didn't do the century ride for Team in Training? It's very different to train for a marathon when I'm almost 40 then when I was in my 20s...enough complaining, I've got to get up early to do a 40 minutes jog tomorrow!

Friday, January 29, 2010

My first race with Team in Training

My first race with Team in Training was the Bermuda half marathon in January of 1998. Here I am, after the race, cold and wet after going through two huge rain storms (it REALLY rains in Bermuda, crazy monsoon rains- then it's bright and sunny right afterward like it never began) and absolutely thrilled that I was able to complete the race!

Let me backtrack to how I had started with Team in Training. I had begun volunteering with the Leukemia Society in 1995 when I graduated college, putting on special events to fundraise in memory of my dad. Team in Training was a relatively new program and the people that had done the marathon through them were VERY enthusiastic and their pride in doing the event was infectious. They kept asking me to do it, and my answer was pretty much what you would expect- absolutely not, there's noooo wayyyy I could ever do a marathon, what are you crazy??? I had run as a teenager, actually as a way to cope with my father's dying, but hadn't since and was very out of shape.

Fast forward two years later to 1997. I was living in Hoboken and working in New York City and started working out regularly. While I was on the stairmaster I read an article in Health Magazine about Team in Training and thought, that's it, that's my calling. So I RAN home four blocks. listening to Prince on my walkman, and thought, hey, I can run again! I called the Leukemia Society the next day and signed up over the phone for the next marathon they were fundraising for, the Dublin marathon, even though it was in 3 months. Okay, I hear you laughing. It was very impulsive and I can tell you I had NO IDEA what I was in for. If I really did have a clue just HOW much work was in front of me I might not have done it, but at the same time it was also one of the best things that have ever happened to me.

I wrote a letter to my friends and family and posted my letter to my then publishing company's intranet server. To say the support I had was overwhelming is an enormous understatement. I heard stories from so many people telling me how cancer and leukemia had personally affected them. I met many people I might not have met, and realized that fundraising and training for a cause was really bigger then myself. I no longer felt like it was just "me", but felt like I was a vehicle for spreading the word about the Leukemia society.

Training was long and repetitive and rigorous. I trained with the running club in Hoboken, the Hoboken Harriers, and would get up at 5:30 am to run along the Hudson river before work. Unfortunately before the Dublin race I got a hairline fracture in my foot, and wasn't able to train for a month while it healed. So I was able to transfer to the next marathon, which was Bermuda. And then I sprained my left ankle three weeks before that race, running on a sidewalk but after training for 6 months I decided to do the race anyway, albeit as a half marathon instead of a full marathon. And then I broke my toe on a piece of exercise equipment a week before the event (!!!). So I figured I would go to the event and just do how ever long I could do and then stop when my toe and ankle started acting up.

The night before the race Team in Training had a huge spaghetti party and told us the story of how the marathon came to being...that there was a runner, Phidippedes, that ran 26 miles to Athens to tell them that the war was over (and then died of exhaustion). He compared us as marathoners to messengers- that we are spreading the word that someday there WILL be a cure to Leukemia.

The day of the race, January 18, 1998, was BEAUTIFUL. I think it was 70 degrees and sunny and the water looked like someone dropped turquoise food dye in there. It was quite the change from training during the winter in New York! I started walking...and walking...more like hobbling, expecting to only do a mile. People were cheering me on, asking me if I was alright, laughing with me because I was limping in the first mile. Since I knew I really wasn't competing, I decided to just enjoy the scenery as I walked and thought of my dad and the girl with leukemia that I was limping in honor of, Chelsea, and thought, well, this pain I'm having in my ankle and toe is nothing compared to chemotherapy. And what a way to see the island! I walked along the breathtaking coastline and manicured lawns and proper people (who said, hey, are you okay, come inside and have some tea) and then the not-so-rich area with the Rastifarians (who said hey, sweetheart, come in the house, forget this marathon, we'll give you a backrub). After a while my toe went completely numb and miraculously I went around the whole island and completed 13.1 miles! I came in 310 and finished in 3:49:07- I didn't come in dead last!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why I'm training for a marathon

Yup, I'm training for a marathon, that's 26.2 miles of running. And running. I'm doing it in memory of my dad, Howard Clark Jr. (that's us a year before he died in his beautiful FIAT) who died at the age of 49 of leukemia. I'm doing the San Diego Rock n' Roll marathon on June 6th as a member of the Leukemia Society's Team in Training.

This is my fourth race through Team in Training- I have done the Bermuda 1/2 marathon in 1998, the NYC marathon in 1999, and the Westchester Triathlon in 2002. I did NOT break any land records, even came in dead last in the triathlon, but I enjoyed myself tremendously each time. I'm not an athlete by any means, but if training for a marathon and losing my toenails and consuming buckets of goo enables me to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, then I'm on board.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberries

I absolutely love this recipe- I had it the first time at my friend's home, who said it was his grandmother's recipe. I have since shared it with countless friends, who have also made it their weekend tradition! These will be the BEST pancakes you have ever had, and you will never want to go back to pancakes from a box mix again!

1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces of blueberries
add buttermilk to desired consistency- just under 1/2 quart

Stir all ingredients and put in well buttered pan
Makes about 6 servings

Yum, buttermilk pancakes, ready to be cooked!

The pancakes are ready to be flipped when it's bubbly like this

YUM! Not such a successful turn on my part but it's SOOO good!


Sunset in Mira Mesa

I love it when I see something out of the corner of my eye and go "WOW!" Also was fortunate enough to have my camera!

This is a view of the park right across the canyon, taken from my back patio. Yup, I'm really fortunate to live in San Diego!