Category Archives: Marathon Training

Race Recap – California International Marathon

Happy New Year!

CIM was over a month ago.  During the first half of the race, I was writing my recap in my head.  I was beaming, thinking about how I would describe that I took risks and exceeded all expectations!

So….what happened in the second half of the race and the last six weeks?

Pre-race:

On Saturday, I headed up to Sacramento.  I checked in at the adorable Citizen Hotel.  The Citizen was very welcoming to CIM runners.  They are a couple blocks away from the Sacramento Convention Center which serves as the expo location and one of the bus pick-up spots.  They offered a special runner dinner in their restaurant as well as a verrrrry early morning breakfast.  Did I mention it’s adorable?

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Went over to the expo, found my name on the sweet CIM board, got my bib, and headed back to watch junky TV with my legs up.

This child needs to stop fame-blocking me.

This child needs to stop fame-blocking me.

There are tons of restaurants in the downtown area to get your carb needs met.  I went with sushi at a place with decent Yelp reviews (totally unmemorable) and grabbed my secret weapon ice cream from a liquor store.  Curled up with ‘Bridesmaids’ and got to sleep by about 9:30.

Race morning:

Woke up feeling good, rested, nervous.  Did all the typical morning things and rushed out, leaving my sunglasses and water behind.  Then I waited in 40 degree weather for the bus for like 20 minutes.  I’m an idiot.  My bus stop was probably the busiest one but there were buses for everyone.  We were definitely a big herd of cattle but overall, CIM is a very organized race.  The buses were warm and I had a lovely seat-mate to chat with during the 30 minute ride.  When we arrived, the sun was coming up and I opted to stay on the bus before finishing my bathroom business (PHEW) and lining up at the start.  Note about the start: CIM does not have corrals.  Runners self-seed based on anticipated finish but I didn’t experience any bottlenecking!  Also, they have the longest row of porta-potties I have ever seen.

Miles 1-13:

Perfection.  Beautiful sunrise.  Perfect weather.  The rolling hills play perfectly to my mental and physical strengths.  I was aiming for about 10:07 pace but I felt so good that I allowed myself to run many of these miles in the high 9’s.  This was my perfect race day.

Except…I was kind of thirsty….  I’ve never felt thirsty while running before.  Maybe this was because I’d had half a diet coke at 5am and started running at 7 (I KNOW).  No matter, I would begin my fueling strategy (2-3 chews every 3 miles) at the first aid station and all would be well!  Tra la la!

Great success!  Everything is perfect!  What can go wrong?!

Great success! Everything is perfect! What can go wrong?!

Miles 14-20:

Right at mile 14, I began to feel TIRED.  I was so pissed at myself for going out so “fast”.  I’m such a conservative runner.  I couldn’t believe I was squandering a marathon on such a stupid mistake.  I made sure I was taking electrolytes (yay NUUN!) at all of the aid stations and walking through them to give myself a mental break.  I had a bit of stiffness in my left leg but mostly, I was just really tired and bummed out.  My pace dropped to about 10:30 in these miles.  I was still on pace to meet my A goal of sub-4:30 but I left the miraculous 4:20 at mile 13.  Okay…

Mile 18.  Proof that good race photos are mind over matter.  I was NOT happy at this moment.  Or maybe I was?!  It's confusing, isn't it?

Mile 18. Proof that good race photos are mind over matter. I was NOT happy at this moment. Or maybe I was?! It’s confusing, isn’t it?

Miles 20-26:

Death march.  F*ck.  It was all I could do to keep running and not just walk the whole rest of the way.  I was exhausted.  During mile 20, I went to get my Honey Stinger Chews out and discovered that I had eaten about 1/3 of what I was supposed to.  F*ck.  I took several with NUUN and felt an upswing.  At this point, I was so tired and demoralized that I just did everything I could to get there.  I knew that if I ran/walked about 50/50, I would still PR.  With each mile, I slipped further and further away from my goal.  It was sad.  I wished I were injured so I could stop.  But I wasn’t.  I was just under-fueled and bummed out.  But still able to turn on the joy for a race photographer at mile 22:

I laughed so hard when I saw this picture.  I should be a professional film and television actress. #actuallyhatinglife

I laughed so hard when I saw this picture. I should be a professional film and television actress. #actuallyhatinglife

The last couple miles, I just chanted “just run, just run, just run” and occasionally mixed in “PR, PR, PR”.  Finally I made it to the finish.

I love you, Timing Mat.

I love you, Timing Mat.

4:33.  An 8 minute PR.  3 minutes off my A goal.  All things considered, a success.

I got my medal, grabbed water, and shoved some chews in my face.  I walked around for a bit but I was pretty woozy and nauseated so I sat down and guzzled.  When I could stand up without barfing, I took one more “happy” picture.

I think I was actually happy in this one.  :D

I think I was actually happy in this one. 😀

The two blocks to my hotel took longer than the last mile.  I stretched, texted, tweeted, showered.  Citizen generously gave us late check-out so I wasn’t rushed at all.  That was wonderful. After a bit of foam rolling, I got in the car and headed home, by way of In-N-Out and the largest Diet Coke in the world.

I had two.

I had two.

CIM is a wonderful race.  I love the course, the organization, and the energy.  My weather was perfection and I was well-trained.  I’m disappointed that I made such an unnecessary error with my nutrition.  I’m also bummed that at mile 13, I didn’t believe in myself.  I assumed that I went out too quickly; that I wasn’t strong enough to run a 4:20 marathon.  I wish I had realized that I simply wasn’t eating enough and corrected that instead.  I learned several really important lessons that I will grow from in the next one.  Not sure when that will be but I still love marathon training and the incredible challenge of 26.2.

My favorite sign was one that read “Someday you might not be able to do this, TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.”

Any marathon day is a good day.

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Home Stretch

IMG_1064It’s go time.  And it so is.

I have been following a rigid training plan since MAY, when 70.3 training began.  That’s a lot of gluten-free waffles.  I’ve probably peaked at least three times.  Races are often described as the “victory lap” at the end of a training cycle.  After eight months, some significant emotional challenges, and about a gillion miles, I’m beyond ready to put this training cycle to bed.  If I sound demoralized, I’m not at all.  I’m just a bit overcooked.  Very ready.

Goal-setting and planning for this race has been a bit of a conundrum.  I registered for CIM a few weeks before I dropped out of Augusta, needing a big challenge I knew I could enjoy meeting.  When I transitioned from triathlon to marathon training, I was a bit nervous about my past tibial tendinitis or ITB issues flaring up.  To avoid injury and increase enjoyment, I experimented with walking breaks during my long runs.  It was wonderful.  I felt very strong and unbelievably calm.  No joke, I actually enjoyed my twenty milers!  They were faster than my first marathon pace (even with a break every 9 minutes) and recovery was really quick.  I figured I would transition to continuous long runs once I had ramped up my mileage without injury.  But I just never did.  For runs ten miles and fewer, I ran through but all my significant long runs had regular breaks.

I didn’t have any ego issues with frequent walking breaks initially but now I feel slightly less comfortable with them.  I’ve debated several different race plans:

9 or 10 minutes running / 1 minute walking

Pro: I’ve trained this way.  It’s very psychologically comforting to know that there’s always another break on the horizon, usually before I need it.

Con: It’s awkward to stop, especially early in the race.  I have to run faster to maintain my overall pace.  My walking breaks may not align with the aid stations.

Straight running

Pro: Running pace is slower since it’s continuous. Ego boost.

Con: Much more physically demanding.  Haven’t run anywhere near that far continuously in over a year.  Much more challenging mentally.

Walking at aid stations

Pro: Similar to my training.  Running pace can be a bit slower since walking breaks are less frequent.  Walking breaks are proactive enough to stave off fatigue later in the race. Won’t back people up.

Cons: Walking breaks aren’t quite as often but hey, it is a race….

I’ve settled on the compromise option: walking for 0:45-1:00 through the aid stations beginning at mile 3.    I will PR this race, without question.  By how much, I’m not sure but I’m aiming for >4:30 (10:17 pace) which is totally doable, even with walking breaks.

This race marks the end of my Beginner Chapter.  My intention for CIM is to enjoy (relatively) easy racing one last time.  In the new year, it’s time to get brave and get fast!

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Mindfulness – Part One

About a month ago, I began to live more mindfully.  Since then, I’ve attempted to write about it several times and found myself stuck every time, including now.  These changes have been so profound, even in a short amount of time, that I can say that it has changed my life.  Consider this the first of many posts about the topic.

Fundamentally, I am trying to be present in my mind and body at every moment.  Truly *being* where I am with no thought of what’s coming next, unless I’m purposefully planning.  The only unhappiness and anxiety I have in my lovely life is a product of worrying.  When we worry, we use our creative minds to remove ourselves from present contentment and place ourselves in an imagined future where something is going wrong.  Put that way, it sounds like a terrible way to live but it is so common!

Recognizing that in this moment everything is fine can be really powerful.  In the first few days of thinking this way, I noticed 2-3 times per day that I felt anything other than contentment.  That’s it!  They were fleeting moments that dissipated as quickly as I noticed them.  I was truly amazed by how content I was, even when sitting in traffic, waiting in lines, etc.  If you’re just *being* with your thoughts, your music, your podcasts, the sunshine…everything is pretty nice!  Of course, not every moment is fine.  Someone may say something hurtful, a driver might do something dangerous that frightens or angers you… Those are still realities of life but we can choose whether we let those moments pass quickly or dwell on them, forcing ourselves to re-experience the hurt/discomfort over and over again.  No thanks.

I can get daunted pretty easily and daunted typically equals very unhappy.  However, when I’m actually doing the daunting things, they always go well!  I love my job and whether I’m teaching a voice lesson, a Dailey Method class, or singing, I feel this amazing sense of flow.  I’m so fully engaged that time seems to speed up.  I leave each activity feeling more alive than before.   My motivation for actively seeking presence was to feel as engaged and positive outside of those activities as I feel when I’m doing them.

To eliminate feeling overwhelmed, I committed to stop looking at my calendar.  Instead, I take 5-10 minutes each day to sit down with the next day’s schedule and set an intention for each activity.  I think about what each student, class, or workout needs.  I make a little notation in my phone and boom, the day is handled.  I can spend the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of today being in today!  I’ve also noticed how much time I truly have when an activity is contained within it’s allotted time (instead of being thought about all day).  4 lessons and 2 DM classes isn’t ALL DAY, it’s only 6 hours.  That shift has allowed me to reclaim and enjoy a whole lot of previously squandered time.

Birthday Notes!

Birthday Notes!

Around the time this all started, I had a wonderful Dailey Method workshop with Lorna Samatas, owner of The Dailey Method – Elmhurst.  The topic was “Theming Your DM Class” but much of it was about mindfulness techniques.  One concept that I really took to was the idea of “arriving” in a space.  The idea is that when you cross a threshold into a new space, it’s a mindfulness trigger.  You take a moment to pause and consider why you’re there and what you hope to get from the experience in that space.  My Dailey Method students have responded well to this as a way to truly begin their practice.  I’m using it everywhere from entering a rehearsal to retreating to my bedroom at the end of the day.

Without question, this has significantly changed my running.  I will explore this in a subsequent post(s) but I want to tell you that last week’s 17 miler and yesterday’s TWENTY were both amazing runs.  I was *calm* the entire time.  I didn’t have any dread or fear of the distance.  At the beginning, I had no sense of how long I had to go.  I simply ran.  I noticed physical sensations, noticed ebbs and flows in my energy, noticed clouds, noticed my own happiness.  It was tremendous and couldn’t come at a better time.

Happy from beginning to end!

Happy from beginning to end!

There’s a lot more I want to share and now that I’ve gotten this first post through my fingers, more will come soon!

Please ask questions or share your favorite mindfulness tips and resources in the comments!

 

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Goin’ Galloway?!

Oh hey!  I’m running a marathon!

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A few weeks before I pulled the plug on Augusta 70.3, I registered for CIM.  To many, registering for a dovetailing marathon while struggling with my present goal would seem insane.  I considered it for months and didn’t discuss it much.  It felt like a really good idea and as I described to a few people, “I just needed a win.”  Obviously running 26.2 miles isn’t an easy win but it’s an endeavor that feels exciting.

One important consideration is overtraining.  70.3 training started in May and while it wasn’t run heavy, that’s a long time on the training train.  Since I’m genuinely looking forward to this race, my mind is cooperating well.

Body….is mostly cooperating well.  Two weeks ago, I had 15 miles on my plan and 5 miles in, my ITB rebelled. My knee joined the protest, and I had no choice but to turn around and head home after 5.  Ruh-roh.  Since then, I’ve rested when I felt like I should and backed off my mileage.  I travelled to Seattle to celebrate my stepmom’s 60th birthday (60’s themed party!) and then returned home to celebrate my own birthday.

Mad Men....with an iPhone.

Mad Men….with an iPhone.

Last Tuesday, I turned 32.  I celebrated with a fantastic spin class (BORN THIS WAY was the first song!!!  WHAT?) and Dailey Method with the always energetic and amazing Susan.

The next day, I embarked on my first 32 year old run: 10 miles.  I decided to employ the Galloway method (running 9 minutes/ walking 1) in the hopes that I would get through a longish run without discomfort.

It was absolute joy.  One of those runs where you can’t stop thinking how amazing you feel and how you wish you could bottle the feeling and HowCanEveryRunBeLikeThisEveryTimeForever!!!!

I never needed the walking breaks so they were a pleasant (and frequent) surprise!  I intended to keep a long run pace (10:30-10:45) but I could barely keep my running segments above 10.  It felt really good.  I kind of totally get why people favor this method.  My average pace was faster than it should have been but the run felt easier than it should have felt.  Maybe it was just the day?  Maybe it was the buoyant energy of a new, even age?

Maybe NOT.

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Yesterday, I ran 15 miles using the same method.  I felt FANTASTIC.  Same deal: all the running segments felt nearly effortless and hovered around 10mm.  Stupidly faster than I should be running my long runs but I absolutely could have had a full conversation (if another person on earth were insane enough to run 5 loops of the same lake).  Oh, and today?  NO PAIN OR STIFFNESS WHATSOEVER.  I took a spin class this morning.  Didn’t even feel like I ran yesterday.   Absurd.

So….maybe this method works really well for me?  Maybe my marathon goal should be faster?  Who knows.  I can tell you that I am absolutely not bothered by running “only” 90%.  That’s still a low A, thankyouverymuch.  I took a lot of pride in running my entire first marathon but using this method to get safely to both the starting line and a PR doesn’t bug me. I’m not sure at this point if I’m going to stay with Galloway but I will for my long run this weekend and continue to evaluate from there.

YAAAAAAAY MARATHON TRAINING!  It really is my favorite.

Ever do a run/walk method?  Thoughts?  

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Race Recap – Portland Marathon

I can’t tell you how delightful it is to type that title.

When last we met, I was on the bathroom floor.

With the essential pre-race activities complete, I got dressed, took some selfies and headed out into the dark.

BRB.

BRB.

It was chilly but I had so much adrenaline I felt surprisingly comfortable.  I walked down to the corrals with a friendly dude and texted my wonderful internet training buddy (and fellow first-timer) Sara to meet up.  It was so fantastic to see her and share my excitement with someone who TOTALLY understood.  We exchanged hugs, neglected to take pictures (whoops), and wished each other luck before heading to our respective corrals.

Ready.....set.....

Ready…..set…..

Before I knew it, our corral was heading forward and then I was stepping over the mat.

Miles 1-3

I AM RUNNING A MARATHON.

There were definitely some happy tears at the start.  I opted to begin with some chill music to ensure that the cumulative effect of taper and race excitement didn’t set me off too fast.  The first mile was a gentle decline which felt wonderful.  I knew that miles 2 and 3 were uphill which would help me establish a cruising pace that would ideally carry me through the first half of the race.  I barely remember anything I saw in these early miles.  All I remember thinking was that everything felt perfect and easy, exactly as it should.  This was the first of many times that I knew I was running exactly the race I trained for.

No idea what mile this was because they pretty much all felt like this.

No idea what mile this was because they pretty much all felt like this.

Miles 3 – 6.5

Downhill + endorphins + marathon energy = BEST MILES OF MY LIFE.

I turned my music off at mile 3 and enjoyed the energy around me and my own positivity.  Heading back downhill, people were flying.  I truly felt incredible and *really* had to pull back my pace here.  I kept reminding myself that slowing down now was an investment in the twenties.  Every time I looked down and saw a low 10, I thought “invest” and slowed back down.  The course flattened out and I hit my first benchmark: 6.2.  Wooo!  I had celebratory music picked out for this moment but I knew I would see my parents who were waiting at mile 6.5 / 11.  Spectators are absolutely amazing and YOUR SPECTATORS are the best.  My stepmom is the most organized woman on earth and true to her adorable form, she laminated my “GO SHAUNA” race sign.  I LOVE HER SO MUCH.  They were on the opposite side of the street but went absolutely apeshit when I ran by!  It was such a fantastic moment.  I could tell the runners around me were delighted by their energy too.

Miles 6.5 – 11

This section was an out and back in an industrial area.  Not the most scenic section of the course but wonderful because I got a fantastic surprise.  I already knew that my fabulous friends Nick and Marissa had named their most recent podcast episode “Marathon” for me but I did not realize that they were going to give me the sweetest intro and ending dedication.  Nick even sang part of a song that I sang for a high school concert.  I straight up laughed out loud like a crazy person.  I was so beyond touched.  At the end of this section, I saw my parents again and got the chance to tell them that I was having the best day of my life.

I LOVE YOU AND RUNNING AND MY LAMINATED SIGN AND MARATHONS AND EVERYTHING EVER!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE YOU AND RUNNING AND MY LAMINATED SIGN AND MARATHONS AND EVERYTHING EVER!!!!!!!!!

Right after blowing kisses to my parents, we split off from the half marathoners.  Several of them wished us luck which I thought was really sweet.

Miles 12 – 17

Bzzzzzzz Mile 12..

Bzzzzzzz Mile 13…

Bzzzzzzz Mile 14…..

This section got a little prettier and the miles just ticked away.  I was actually amazed that I often didn’t know or care what mile I was in.  I had long established a rhythm of drinking water, taking a Bolt Chew every 2 or 3 miles, checking my average pace, and trotting along.  Somewhere around mile 12, I caught up with the 4:40 pace group who had begun in the corral before me (meaning I had a few minutes less than them).  When I settled into their rhythm, I felt like I had found my people and it was a tremendous relief not to have to set my own pace.  Even though I was listening to a combination of podcasts and celebratory halfway point music, I could feel the camaraderie of the group.  Despite a distracting and poorly timed headphone mishap, I stayed with them as we trucked up the notorious hill to the St. Johns bridge.

Happy thumbsing on the bridge.  Don't worry - a post on getting happy race photos is coming.

Happy thumbsing on the bridge. Don’t worry – a post on getting happy race photos is coming.

That hill was really, really worth it.

Once on the bridge, I slowed down to fix my headphone issue.  I dropped a bit behind the 4:40 pace group but I had felt so great throughout the race, I was confident I could catch back up.

Miles 18 – 21

Over the bridge, I began a podcast.  Not the best timing because I was still a bit fatigued from the ascent to the bridge and the lack of musical inspiration lulled me right into the wall.

So, the wall is interesting.  I knew I was fueled and hydrated but I just started to feel really tired.  I wasn’t demoralized by the distance and my thoughts were still quite positive.  Nothing really hurt but I was just TIRED.  I realized quickly that this was the wall and reminded myself that it was temporary and eventually I would scale it and my energy would return.  I even smiled because I was experiencing this runner rite of passage.  And also, it sucked.

My bestie Lauren (WHOSE DAD WON THE MOTHERF*CKING NOBEL PRIZE ON MONDAY. WHAT?!) was stationed somewhere between miles 19 and 20 so looking for her helped manage my waning interest in running.  “Waning interest” would be the understatement of the year but I kept reminding myself that I was running my perfect race.  I had no pain, perfectly even splits, no tummy issues, and a positive mindset.    When I hit mile 21, I put some music on and felt completely recharged!  AHHHH SWEET RELIEF!  I kept looking for Lauren but at this point I figured I had either missed her or she hadn’t been able to come out.  No biggie – I HAD DOWNHILL MILES TO RUN!  WAHOOOO!

Here's me looking exactly the same happy at a completely different point in the race!

Here’s me looking exactly the same happy at a completely different point in the race!

Miles 22-26

Okay, so my quads are still trashed today but it was so worth it.  Those two miles of descent felt f*cking awesome.  I realize some people aren’t that comfortable running downhill but I love it.  When looking at the course, I wondered if it would even feel like a relief at this point in the race.  Um, it totally did times a million.  I caught back up with the 4:40ers and hung out with them until the course leveled out at mile 24.

So, two miles left.  No biggie, right?  What’s twenty minutes when you’ve already been running for more than four hours?

It’s very, very, very, very difficult.

I knew I just had to get to the Broadway bridge to get back.  Just get UP TO THAT BRIDGE (that part was a doozy).  Just get over the bridge.  Just get to mile 25 where Tim and your family are waiting for you.

I had run the entire time.  Even during water bottle refills, I shuffled from volunteer to volunteer.  I had not walked a single step.  At this point it truly took all my mental fortitude not to walk.  I just kept asking myself if it was worth giving up the ultimate baller status of running an entire marathon non-stop.  Every time I decided it wasn’t, I slowed down to a shuffle long enough to feel a bit of relief and then picked the pace back up.  During this mile, the 4:40 (4:36 for me) pace group drifted further ahead until they disappeared completely.

Now, if there is a single thing I could have done differently during the race, it would have been to take a salt pill around mile 17.  I’ve never taken one but I intend to experiment with them in future training.  I was drinking water and fueling well but I started to feel a little bit of tummy instability at mile 24.  This is my tell-tale sign of mild dehydration.  I drank water but my body just wasn’t absorbing it effectively anymore.  Truthfully, I had enough energy to push my pace at this point but my tummy wouldn’t let me and I was unwilling to stop in a portapotty.

I got across the bridge with a major improvement in mood and pace.  Thank you Demi Lovato.  Heart Attack was my JAM on that bridge and I felt pretty amazing.  Right at the mile 25 mark, there was a left turn.  In an attempt to run the tangent correctly, I almost missed Tim who was standing on the corner!  He yelled out for me and when I saw him, he had the most enormous smile on his face.  I felt so proud and just screamed that I loved him and kept moving forward.

I was running the last mile of my first marathon.  I was tired.  I was going to become a marathoner.  I had run exactly the race I trained for.

I saw the 26 mile marker and turned on my special song.  Then I turned left and saw the finish line.

738754-1058-0024s

And then it was done.

4 hours, 40 minutes and 43 seconds of effort done.

Two thumbs enthusiastically up for marathons.  Marathons rule.

Two thumbs enthusiastically up for marathons. Marathons rule.

I collected my space blanket, MEDAL, and immediately downed several cups of water and OJ.  That OJ was seriously the most delicious thing I had ever tasted.  Then I went through to get my finishers shirt (SWEET), commemorative coin, replica medal pendant, and rose.  If you like SWAG, run the Portland Marathon.  For real.

My parents, stepbrother, cousin and his fiancé were easy to find in the reunion area.  It was so special to have them there to share the experience with.  We took a bunch of family pictures in which I got what is probably my favorite picture ever taken:

Peep my laminated sign with clip art.  I love them so much.

Peep my laminated sign with clip art. I love them so much.

So…you know who else it was special to share this experience with?

YOU.

Every tweet, text, emoji, comment, smile, and encouraging word over the last four months got me to this place.  I am so grateful and moved by the unbelievable support of my family, friends, and the phenomenal internet running/triathlon community.  This was a tremendous endeavor for me and you made it delightful every literal step of the way.  Thank you so much.

I ran a marathon.

Best. Day. Ever.

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4:40:43

I ran the entire thing.

It was the best day of my life.

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Full recap to come.

I’m Running a Marathon in an Hour

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Good morning!!

I AM RUNNING A MARATHON TODAY.

I’m currently sitting on the bathroom floor of the Hotel Modera (highly recommended for the Portland Marathon btw). I set my alarm for 6 but woke up at 5 and thought I might get a head start on the essential morning activities. Some things you normally do in a bathroom (which went quite well thankyaJesus) and some things you don’t normally do like eat breakfast.

I attempted to write a training wrap-up post yesterday but I couldn’t find any way to articulate what this training cycle has been like.

They’ve been the best months of my entire life.

I loved this process so much. I loved getting stronger. I loved getting happier. I loved focusing on something so special.

I loved challenging every aspect of my history.

Last night, my parents picked Tim up from the airport and I guess the first thing my dad said was “can you f*cking believe Shauna is running a marathon?” My dad is my BFF for life and número UNO supporter. Even he still finds it hard to believe. I live it every day and I still had so many emotional moments where I looked with absolute awe at the changes to my self.

I am so looking forward to this very long victory lap. I’m physically and emotionally prepared to fully acknowledge and celebrate becoming the woman I want to be.

Thank you for letting me share this with you.

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Exactly One Week

It is exactly one week before the start of the Portland marathon.

How do I feel?

* Calm.
* Ready.
* Slightly Detached.
* Bloated.
* Proud.

Taper has been pretty weird. The first week still had like 29 miles (?) which is a high mileage week for me so while my mind thought I should be on easy street, my schedule said otherwise. Runs went fine but for some reason I kept being surprised at the mileage of the day. I also learned a new runner truth: successfully running 20 miles doesn’t make 12 short. That last long run was one of my most miserable of the training cycle.

Last week, I thought I would dramatically curb my eating since the mileage had decreased. I’ve gained several pounds of mostly water weight during training and I’ve been conflicted as to whether I should try to drop it. Apparently I wasn’t that conflicted because I ate like a ten year old at a birthday party.

20130929-072823.jpgLITERALLY

In the peak weeks, I was very emotional. All happy emotions but I literally cried during several runs. I’ve been quite surprised that as the race approaches, it feels further away. My training runs are emotionless and even my favorite songs have no visceral impact.

* In an odd instance of energy transference, I’ve become incredibly enthusiastic about developing the performing side of my career. I’ve identified an important audition I plan to take and have been practicing and studying more than I have in years. It’s like I’m still going at full throttle but my mind knew I needed a break from full marathon obsession. Mental taper! FASCINATING!

I’m currently in Seattle celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday. We rented out a suite at the Mariners game (hence the cake) and lived it up VIP-style. It was so much fun to spend the afternoon with family and friends I don’t get to see very often. Every conversation was about the marathon and all I could do was quietly smile, knowing that in a week I was going to do the thing.

It’s almost here.

Eastern Span

Becoming a runner has been extraordinary.  One of the sweetest parts has been exploring and redefining my home turf on my own feet.

Today was the BEST example of that.  8 miles of 14 were across the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.  A bridge I have driven over about two-hundred-million-thousand times.

Before meeting speedy buddy and IRONMAN Jessica, I had 6 miles to take care of.

Gorgeous Bay to the right.  Highway 80 to the left.

Gorgeous Bay to the right. Highway 80 to the left.

I’ve been meaning to run the Emeryville/Berkeley/Albany segment of the San Francisco Bay Trail  for ages.  In fact, over the summer I sat in horrific traffic for over an HOUR on Hwy 80, not moving and wishing I could just abandon my Prius and run home.  It’s a great trail.  Lovely breeze coming off of the bay and packed dirt on the side of the pavement for when you want a softer surface.  Planning to do a longer run here this coming week.

(Since I only have 40 miles to cover in the next 7 days, as Sara reminded me.  Oy. )

I arrived back at our meeting spot and we headed out to the bridge!  There are two paths that lead onto the new span of the bridge.  We took the one that originates near the Emeryville Ikea.  I was so encouraged to see so many groups of women walkers, families, cyclists, and runners out enjoying the path.  As a nearly lifelong Oakland resident, we don’t get much positive press.  It was awesome to see people outside and enthusiastic about the TOWN!

It’s about two miles from Ikea to the actual bridge.  It was such a trip to run along the approach to the toll plaza where I have waited impatiently so many times.  There’s a short but somewhat steep incline up to the bridge and then a little over two miles before the path ends, just shy of Treasure Island.

059

 

057

 

058

 

060

 

061

 

062

 

It’s a great run.  It’s a gentle incline all the way to the turnaround.  The kind where it looks flat but your inner thighs complain.  We were holding a faster pace than my usual long runs (10:15ish vs. 10:45) but chatting and marveling at the scenery made it really fun.  When we turned around, we dropped more than a minute off our pace!  Downhill is the bomb.  I can’t believe I held that pace at the end of 14 miles.  Running with faster friends is intimidating but so, so rewarding.  The last mile and a half was brutal for me.  Our speedy pace caught up to me and the fog had burned off, revealing toasty temperatures.  It was great to have a chance to push through fatigue.  Had I been alone, I may have stopped to walk but I just kept trotting behind Jess until we were done!

A great morning and wonderful confidence boost going into the last big week of marathon training before taper.  HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

And now, recovery.

How I do.

How I do.

 

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You Are Here

This morning, I ran 18 miles.

Near the end of mile 2, this song by The Wailin’ Jennys came on and I smiled.

You wonder why you wonder when
You wonder how now and then
How you became who you’ve become

You are here
And yet you dream of being there
Of being where you think the good life has begun

Every darkened hallway
Every fallen dream
Every battle lost and
Every shadow in between
Will bring you to your knees and
Closer to the reason

And there’s no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there’s no turning back
No you are here

Who can say who made the choice
In the matter of your birth
Who brought about that fateful day
Well you are here and born with fire and desire
You’re the only one can stand in your own way

And every broken arrow
Every hardened smile
Every foolish gamble and
Every lonely mile
Will bring you to your knees and
Closer to the reason

And there’s no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there’s no turning back
No you are here

And every sign of love
Every seed that’s growing
Every sweet surrender
To that silent knowing
Will bring you to your knees and
Closer to the reason

And there’s no making cases
For getting out or trading places
And there’s no turning back
No you are here

Holding back the happy tears.

Holding back the happy tears.

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