I am training for a marathon. My third to be more specific. Some of you may remember how I swore up, down left and right that I would never ever do another marathon…ever, as I hobbled back to the hotel after the Philadelphia Marathon back in 2009. Well, I guess I lied.
Today I did my last 20 mile run before the marathon in four weeks. For me, the last 20 mile run is a very important one. Once it’s done, then I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. The next three weeks will continue with the training schedule, but the Sunday long run distances are cut back. No more runs over 13 miles for the next three weeks…sweet! A little sample of my items required for a long run:
There is something different about this last round of training that I’ve noticed compared to the other two times. This time it seemed more fun, less daunting and much less stressful. It could be that I am older and wiser with two previous marathons under my belt. It could be the attitude I’ve adopted that this was going to be a fun race where time didn’t matter and I was in it for the journey. Who knows, but this time I have learned much more.
Things I’ve learned this time around:
The further south you go from Sleepy Hollow, the less friendly people become. The percentage of people who return my friendly wave and good morning greeting in the following areas are as follows (I even count general acknowledgment of my existence):
- Rockefeller Park: 85%
- OCA between Sleepy Hollow HS and Irvington Main Street: 50%
- OCA between Irvington Main Street and Dobbs Ferry Cedar Street: 35% (on a good day).
I don’t know what it is. I’m not a scary person. No matter how terrible I’m feeling on my run, I still manage to smile and make some gesture to say hello to passing runners or walkers, and those I pass myself. But, once you hit Irvington, all bets are off. They treat you like you are about to rob them or something. For a town that ranks number 1 in Westchester, you would think people would be a little more happy.
Crossfit and marathon training do not go hand in hand unless you are smart about it. There is this very delicate line that represents the most optimal balance between the two where one doesn’t basically ruin you for the other. A delicate line I had a lot of trouble staying anywhere near. It’s tough since the crossfit gym sets the WOD (workout of the day) according to their programming, which isn’t necessarily the right one for you. I didn’t tell them I was training for a marathon until last week, and that was just to let them know why I was going to start scaling back my weights, not because I was getting lazy. Am I going to demand they change the programming to accommodate me? Not in a million years. But it does affect my running, and not necessarily in a good way. But, with 12 weeks of trial and error, I got through it. It was super tough some weeks, when the combination of the two leaves me so exhausted, it starts to affect me emotionally, but if it isn’t hard, how else will you get stronger right?
Cutting a long run into two separate loops with a short break in between is the way to go. It seems less daunting. Instead of stressing over finding 18 miles of road, I broke it into a 10 mile loop in the park and and the rest out and back on the OCA. I parked my car at the Sleepy Hollow High School as the break point. This way, I only really had to carry 10 miles worth of stuff (2 gels and water), get back to the car, refill and finish off the run. Towards the end, I finished off at Main Street, Tarrytown so I can get my frozen blended mocha thing to drink on my way back to the car (protein + carbs + chocolate + caffeine = what I run for)
Walking a mile back to the car (with cold beverage in hand) is the best way to start recovery, ever. I have never felt better post long run.
Recoverite tastes so much better over ice. Freeze a bottle 3/4 full of water the night before and pack it in a small cooler along with a liter bottle of water that spent the night in the fridge. By the end of the run, enough of the ice will melt so you can pour the Recoverite powder in and shake. So good. And the frozen bottle keeps the liter bottle of water cold for refills at the break point!
Things I will not miss about training for a marathon over the summer:
Heat and humidity
Chafing (every year it’s somewhere different…)
Running with a fully loaded fuel belt
Running with completely soaked running shorts and shirt due to the heat and humidity.
Lighting storms that put a wrench in scheduled runs
Fear of man eating animals that may be prowling the less popular trails I find myself in
Running along Route 9 with all the cars watching me.
Waking up early on Sundays so I can fit in a long run before other planned activities
4:30am wake up calls, 4 days a week, 6:00am the other 3 days…
Things I will miss about training for a marathon over the summer:
Running in the early summer when the sun is out at 5:30am, and the people aren’t yet.
The rooster on Spring Street
The wonderful tan I’ve gotten from spending three plus hours on the trails every Sunday (my sunscreen melts off of me after 2 miles)
The quietness of the trails on an early Sunday morning
The time I get to spend daydreaming, time I get to check out from the trivialities of life and just not think about anything, time where it’s just me and the quiet.
Time spent with friends who accompany me on parts of my run. It makes the miles fly by.
Being able to eat something like this after a run:
Post Run Egg Sandwich
It’s the run of the mill egg sandwich, but dressed up a bit with stuff I found in my fridge.
I scrambled two farm fresh eggs with some chopped up spicy sausage.
Then after removing the egg and turning off the stove, I toasted up a brioche roll on the pan using the residual heat.
Once the bottom bun was toasted, I flipped it over and sprinkled some 4 cheese Mexican blend on top and put the egg/sausage scramble on top of that.
To dress it up, I layered a couple of slices of avocado, an heirloom tomato (my new favorite) and some arugula. It’s jam packed with protein, good fat, veggies and carbs. Just what I need!
So incredible yummy, and totally hits the spot when all you’ve had to eat that day was gels and a blended coffee drink.
The hard part is now over….on to the taper!