Monday, October 8, 2012

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 16

Well, week 16 is in the books, and I am less than 2 weeks from race day!  Kind of crazy!  This week was a total whirlwind for me as I was in the Harrisburg, PA area Sunday/Monday, then in St. Louis Thursday-Sunday.  I mean, I slept in 5 different beds (hotel in PA, my bed, bed at Nora's, bed at Nora's parents, hotel in St. Louis) over the course of the past week.  It's no wonder my head is spinning lately, but there is no slowing down anytime soon as I still have 2 more weeks of travel before my marathon.  Actually I will be home a total of 5 days between now and the marathon...  Le sigh.  But I'll get through it!

The first week of taper went pretty well.  I am really glad it's taper time because even getting the decreased mileage in is challenging!  I'm definitely ready for the race and feel good about my level of conditioning going into race day.  I just really hope I can stay healthy for the next 2 weeks. I'm drinking OJ, taking vitamins, and trying to get 8 hours of sleep a night (totally failing on that last one).  Hopefully all of that will help keep me healthy!

I'm starting to get questions about my race goal - I have some goals in mind that I'll be sharing next week.  Truth be told, I haven't decided on a final goal, but regardless of my goal, I have a racing strategy in mind that will incorporate my final time goal.  I've used it in the past, and it works really well.  The strategy is to turn my pace bracelet into a prayer bracelet.  Those who have read my blog for a couple of years might remember that I did this for my Portland marathon. 

What does this mean?  Well for those unfamiliar with a pace bracelet, it's a bracelet with mile splits that tell you how many minutes should have passed at each mile marker for you to hit your goal.  So if you are trying to run a 4 hour marathon, on mile 5 it will say 54:54, meaning,  your garmin better show less than 54:54 on it if you are trying to run a sub-4 hour marathon.  It's really easy for us runners to get totally caught up in the numbers and to obsessively look at the pace bracelet and our garmin, so what I do to sort of couteract that is write the name of person next to each mile, and I dedicate that miles to that person.  I usually pick people most especially in need of my prayers for the end miles as those are the toughest miles, and that's when you REALLY need the mental distraction.  Plus, you are really suffering in those miles, so I try to offer up that suffering for the person I am thinking of.  For instance, for this race I will be offering the final 3 miles for my aunt Betty who is fighting cancer.  Yes, she gets 3 miles (and is the only person who will get multiple miles) because she is fighting the ultimate fight right now, with such grace.  So if during those final 3 miles, I feel like giving up, I will think of her and I think that will keep the pain of the final miles in perspective. 

I'm excited to pick out names for each mile of the marathon.  And while I do keep an eye on the split times for each mile, I am more so excited to look down at each mile marker and see who I get to pray for/think about next!

Here is how the training broke out last week:

Monday:  Rest (travel day)
Tuesday:  5 pre-dawn recovery miles at 9:24 pace.
Wednesday:  We did a warm up, then 1 mi @ MP, 1 @ HMP, and 2 @ MP. My goal was sub 9 for the MP and 8:30 for the HMP. I ended up running my MP miles at 8:43, 8:44, and 8:39, and ran my HMP mile at 8:16! Did a cool down afterwards and was happy to see the entire 7+ miles was sub 9! Great confidence booster for the DSM marathon.
Thursday:  Rest (travel day)
Friday:  4 miles on the dreadmill at 9:05 pace
Saturday:  Rest (wedding festivities)
Sunday:  15 miles @ 10:04 pace.  My coach and another friend from run club came out on their Sunday afternoon to run with me.  My friend even set up a water/gatorade stop for us.  Talk about star treatment. I was pretty tired on this run, which is to be expected after a week of celebrations and some libations!

Week 16:  31 miles
Training-to-date:  476.25

If you are a marathon or half-marathon runner, do you have a racing strategy to keep your mind off the miles?  Doyou use the pace bracelet?


missris said...

Aww the idea of a prayer bracelet is so sweet it almost brought tears to my eyes! I think that's such a lovely, amazing way to think about the race. In my opinion, you've already won :)

Stephany said...

I remember you mentioning the prayer bracelet for Portland. I told my mom about it and that's what she did for her marathons! I think it's such a neat idea and gives you a different reason to fight during the race.

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

I love this idea! I can imagine this really works to take your mind off the pain!

I have been looking for a strategy that works for me. You know about my ten minute running strategy but I don't have a good strategy for keeping my mind off the running. I have tried podcasts and do like them, but they tend to be hit or miss. I would like to try more audio books, but buying them is so expensive and uploading borrowed books from the library onto my ipod or phone would be such a hassle!

Cannot wait to see you! I cannot believe it is so close!!!

Marlys said...

I had to laugh when you said that Saturday was a rest day, when you were involved in a wedding that day! I'm sure it wasn't too restful, but at least you didn't have to run that day! I am sure that Betty will reap the rewards of your prayers for her on marathon day! God Bless You!

Raquelita said...

I've never used a pace bracelet because I started both my marathons with a pace group, but I do love the idea of dedicating each mile of a marathon to someone.

Great job of getting in the miles with so much traveling for work and for a wedding!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I remember you talking about this race strategy before and I think it's awesome, I love it! I'm sure it makes the miles go by much faster!

Amber said...

I think this is such a great idea and race strategy! I wanted to do this for Vancouver and didn't, but I wish I did. I think it's a wonderful way to send prayers to your loved ones AND keep your mind off the race and pain you're going through at that moment. I know you're going to rock this race!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Prayer bracelet - very cool :-)

Elizabeth said...

Ha as much as I am enjoying training for longer distances and am competitive by nature, I don't know that I will get to the point where I want to break down times...but maybe! :) I love that you pray/focus per mile...I spend a portion of my runs praying these days...and when it gets hard I frequently think about the wounded warriors/vets who would give anything to be able to run easily again...or I think of my Dad who ran almost daily for years and had to give it up after a major knee operation and his first cancer surgery. It definitely makes one want to push on. That and I've finally realized that my body is totally capable so I might as well keep going.... I'm excited for your race. No matter the times---it's still an amazing feat!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I have never used a pace bracelet. Usually I set my Garmin onto the per mile mode instead of the distance mode and I just try to keep it under a certain pace, whatever that may be. It keeps me from focusing on how many miles I've done and keeps me just thinking about the pace. I do love the idea of dedicating each mile to someone; I did that as well, as you know and it was fun because I DID think of them during their mile and they got to have the fun of being a part of my race (plus my brother kept asking if his mile kicked my butt).

I also listen to podcasts when I run in order to keep my mind off the miles. However, I think most of the time I get caught up enough in the hype and the moment, so I don't get too bored anyway!