Monday, January 17, 2011

Marathon Training, Bunco and Darth Vader

So far, the plans for my marathon training during my 3-day weekend have come to fruition.  There have been little challenges along the way, but it has all worked out just fine. 

Friday was a balmy 13 degrees when I got up to go to my sister's and jog with her and Mom.  It was birthday party weekend for Julie's two kiddos and Mom was there to help.  I sat down with Julie and Mom over coffee and informed them it was too cold for me.  Julie seconded my opinion.  Mom suited up and headed out for a 5 miler in it, while Julie and I lingered over our coffee.  Mom either wins the "toughest chick" award or the "fewest braincells" award.  Or both.

I ended up getting 4 quick miles on the treadmill at lunch.  That night I officiated the purple table at Caroline's 9th birthday party, which was a Bunco party.  The girls had a blast and so did I.

The greatest group of 9 year olds I know!
Me and the Birthday Girl
Saturday morning was the day of truth, but I've got to back up a little to Thursday to explain it.  I mentioned earlier that I'd been doing cross training and that consisted of a cycling class once a week.  Jason warned me about this, reminding me of his aches and pains when he started cycling again on his trainer.  Knowing he was probably right (because most of the time he is), I went anyway thinking how bad could it be? 

Well, Friday afternoon I began to see how bad it could be.  My back began stiffening and aching something fierce.  It did not hurt during the 4 mile treadmill run, so that was promising.  I took some ibuprofen and hoped for the best.  Saturday morning I felt better, but the pain had not really gone away.  It had moved up into my neck. 

I also had a sore hamstring from, (don't laugh), building Runnie the Snowman.  This hamstring gets mad every now and again but has rarely caused too much trouble. I just have to deal with it for a week or two and then it goes away again.  I was not overly concerned about it, but I did hope an 18 miler would not make it worse or lead to injury. 

So as I ate my breakfast and woke up a little bit Saturday morning, I wondered how this 18 miler would go.  There was still plenty of ice and snow everywhere too.  Jason counseled me not to be disappointed if I did not run the pace I wanted.  He said the cold could slow me down (as our bodies have to work a little harder in the cold), as well as the clothes I was wearing (running tights versus my preference of shorts) and the ice that remained on the sidewalks.

I set out at 9:00a.m.  I needed to be done by noon so I could shower and head to the second birthday party of the weekend, which would be Caleb's Star Wars party. 

The run was a success. I did have to slow many times to maneuver over icy spots and piled up snow, but I tried to quickly regain my momentum and keep my pace.  I did not have the wind to contend with this time, so that was a relief.  I followed a similar route as the 15 miler last weekend, hitting some hard hills in the beginning and trying to go for an easier route toward the I thought.  It ended up being much hillier than I'd thought, and I felt like I was constantly climbing.  This is usually fine when I'm not running for time, but I really wanted this long run to be sub 9 minute pace and all of this climbing was making it hard to hold pace. 

I finally reached mile 18 and when I downloaded my watch, it showed 8:54 pace.  A little slower than last week, but still under 9:00.  I was grateful for that and satisfied with my efforts. My shoulders and neck were incredibly stiff by this point and I welcomed the hot shower, which loosened them up. 

I didn't have time to linger as we needed to hurry to Caleb's birthday party.  He and six of his friends were being trained as padawans by Obi Con Kenobi (Cousin Conner) to fight the dark side which turned out to be none other than Uncle Darth Vader (aka Jason). 

Jedi graduates after defeating Uncle Darth Vader!

Obi Con Kenobi, Uncle Darth, and Caleb the birthday boy
We had a blast, and Jason came out of it mostly unscathed, although I think one young padawan got in a good whack to his leg with the plastic light saber. 

Sunday morning I met my friend, Shannon for a 10 miler before church.  My legs were very tired which I suppose should not be surprising, but I had hoped to feel more recovered in order to run well with Shannon.  I was concerned that I was slowing her down, but she assured me that the pace was just fine for her.  It was very cold, once again, and I had a hard time warming up until the sun finally came out. Her husband, Phillip, had coffee waiting on us when we got home and I enjoyed another blessedly hot post-run shower. 

After church I had a massage session with Kim to look forward to, and it was just what this tired body needed.  She worked everything completely out of my neck and shoulders so that today (Monday) I feel like a new woman.  She also worked on my hamstring, which is still tight, but not as angry as before. 

Today, I'm hoping for something shorter (6-8 miles) and faster (8:30 or less).  This may be harder to do than I think, but I had a good night's rest and I'd like to try to hold pace with tired limbs in order to train them to hold pace when I hit the latter miles of my marathon. 

All in all, it has been a wonderful weekend of running and partying, and I can't think of a better mix than that!


  1. Too cute! I thought that "light sabers" were "life savers." Until I was about 20. I know, I know...

  2. Cute pics! Your one lucky aunt to have such precious kiddos to love! And they are lucky to have a fun aunt like you!
    P.S. I made your blog...I feel famous

  3. I am sooooo blessed to have those two kiddos in my life! I absolutely LOVE being their Aunt.

    Looking forward to another run SOON! :)