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Marathon Training Week 17 Recap – Tapering Down

no. 17, somewhere down the jaisalmer highway by nevil zaveri from Flickr

no. 17, somewhere down the jaisalmer highway by nevil zaveri from Flickr

It’s the second to last week of marathon training and my training program has me tapering down before the race.

I was supposed to run on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, but I got too busy to run on Tuesday, so I rearranged my schedule. It’s been a challenge to make time for running lately. The temperature has warmed up again, but I’ve been busy with work so by the time I have time to run, I have to either run in the dark or use the gym at my complex. The gym is convenient but I don’t like running on machines. Running outside is more fun, has better scenery, and my options are to walk or run. In the gym, it’s boring and I have the option to switch from the treadmill to the elliptical, and even to the stationary bike.

On Wednesday, I did 6 miles in the gym – 2.5 on the treadmill and 3.5 on the elliptical. The treadmill makes my shins hurt and the elliptical makes my feet go numb. I’ll admit it was pretty boring staring at the walls and the machines. On Thursday, I ran 4 miles outside. I could tell my legs weren’t as used to running on pavement as I would like but it still felt good. I had some chest pain in the first mile, but it settled down by the end of the run.

I had my last long run on Saturday – 8 miles, and I ran them outside. It felt good to be out running in the first light of the day. My body didn’t fully appreciate it. I had a little shin pain starting around Mile 3 and some arch pain by Mile 4. I was already planning on getting both calves taped for the race and I think I’m going to get my left shin, arch, and post-tib taped too. I’m going to look like I have bionic legs. My chest hurt a bit from the beginning of my run and got worse around Mile 6.  Focusing on my running form seemed to help keep it in check and it was never bad enough where I thought I should stop or walk for safety reasons.

I have the No Pants Light Rail Ride on Sunday so I’ll be walking all over Phoenix before and during the ride so that will be my substitute for cross training. I don’t wear a GPS or a pedometer so I won’t know how  far I’ll walk but I’ll be walking and standing for the better part of 5 hours.

My plan for my last week of training and rest for the marathon is to make sure I stretch, foam roll, and use The Stick on my lower legs every day. I need my calves to be as limber as possible. I’ve heard stories about lots of runners having to stop during the last few miles to stretch their calves. There is a slight incline on the route starting around Mile 20 so I want to make sure my legs are ready for it.

Weekly Totals:
Running:  14.5 miles
Elliptical:  3.5 miles

My Favorite Things 2013

Oprah used to do a “My Favorite Things” show every year so I decided to do the same, but without all the freebies. Sorry.

I reviewed my calendar and Yelp reviews from the past year and here’s my list of my favorite things. Everything on this list is something I use or do and enjoy. I’ve not been compensated in any way for including anyone in this post.

Working Out
2013 half marathon pre raceFavorite Phoenix Area Race: P.F. Chang Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Favorite Place to get Running Shoes: Runner’s Den

Favorite Place to Work Out: Arizona Canal

Favorite Device for Sore Muscles: The Stick

Favorite Place to get Fixed when I Break Myself: Endurance Rehab

Food
Favorite Doughnut: Buttermilk bar from BoSa Donuts (open ‘til 10pm)

0702131205Favorite Mexican Food: Jordan’s

Favorite Greek Food: Greektown

Favorite Indian Food: The Dhaba

Favorite Dessert for Lunch: Yogurtland

Favorite Food Truck: Jamburritos

Favorite Dessert Food Truck: Mamma Toledo’s

Favorite Ice Krem (Phoenix): Churn

Favorite Ice Krem (Scottsdale): Sugar Bowl

Favorite Place for Late-Night Eats and Work: Gay Denny’s

Life
0511131339Favorite Dog Park: Margaret T. Hance Dog Park

Favorite Place for Shirts with Custom Verbiage: Brand X Custom T-shirts

Favorite Site for Shirts with Original Artwork: Threadless

Favorite Snuggle Wear: REI Yoga Pants

Favorite Person for Fixing my Sore Body: Thomas Porter

Favorite Shop for Music Geeks: Central Music

Favorite Bookstore: Changing Hands

Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory

Favorite Reality Show: Deadliest Catch

Favorite Place to Go When I Really Need to Escape: Firefly Room at the Phoenix Art Museum

No Pants Ride 2013 - Photo by Joseph Abbruscatto from Flickr (used with permission)

No Pants Ride 2013 – Photo by Joseph Abbruscatto from Flickr (used with permission)

Online
Favorite Webhost: Dreamhost

Favorite Social Media Platform: Twitter

Favorite Podcast: Savage Lovecast

Favorite Online Cartoon: Foamy the Squirrel

Favorite Site for Travel Suggestions: Roadside America

Favorite Site for Everything Else: Reddit

Events and Activities
Favorite Flash Mob: Improv AZ’s No Pants Light Rail Ride

Favorite Community Event: Ignite Phoenix

Favorite Place on a Friday Night: ASU Women’s Gymnastics Meets

Favorite Phoenix Geek Event: Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown (PUGS)

Favorite Place to see Who’s Who in the Local Zoo: Local First Arizona Fall Festival

I hope you’ve enjoyed my list and perhaps it’s inspired you to try some of my favorite things. 😉

Recap of the 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Another race, another personal record – I finished the 2013 Arizona Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in 1:52:04, 28 seconds faster than last year’s time. Given that pain has been an issue for most of my training for this race, I was only hoping to finish in less than 2 hours. I was ecstatic when I saw that I did so well.

2013 half marathon pre raceI went into this race thinking that this would be my last half marathon. I was grumpy on the light rail as I headed downtown to the expo to pick up my race packet. As I approached the convention center, I started to feel antsy and by the time I was riding the escalator to the room where the expo was being held, I was completely giddy. There’s something about the running community and the camaraderie of doing a big race that makes me excited.

I planned to get my packet, get professionally taped at the KT Tape booth, grab a sample of 5-hour energy and take off, but I ended up spending over an hour there chatting with people. The physical therapist at the KT Tape booth sent me over the to The Stick booth where one of the guys worked on me and I ended up buying my own The Stick after experiencing how well it increased muscle circulation.

2013 Post RaceThe race day was awesome. I met up with my uncle and cousin in the “warm zone” before the race. Brand X Custom made me an awesome custom race shirt for the race that said “Masochist” across the chest and “Run Bitch” across the back. I learned last year that the back of your shirt entertains and motivates the people running behind you so the “Run Bitch” was as much for myself as my fellow runners.

I don’t wear a watch when I run so I don’t know what my pace is except to note the official race time at each mile marker. Instead, I’d find someone ahead of me that I thought was going slower than me and try to catch them.  There was a bald sweaty man that I ran with most of the race. I nicknamed him “Friend.”  If Friend got in front of me, I’d make it a priority to catch up to him. Friend kept me motivated. Around mile 10, I kicked it into high gear and I didn’t see him again until the finish line. He finished about a minute behind me. I thanked him when I saw him in the post-race area.

Photo by Jeff Moriarty, used with permission

Photo by Jeff Moriarty, used with permission

The best signs I saw along the route were “Chuck Norris never did a half marathon” and “Running is mental – and you’re all insane.” I hope the crowd knew how much their cheering and signs were appreciated. It makes the race much more bearable. My friend Jeff lives near the marathon route and he kept those runners entertained with a variety of snarky signs. According to him, a lot of people thanked him for being out there.

When I first finished the race and I saw how well I did, I thought about not giving up half marathons . . . until the ibuprofen and caffeine I took before the race started to wear off. My legs held up well during the race, but they were sore the next day. My amazing masseur had his work cut out for him. I’m not going to run for at least 2 weeks and let my legs recuperate.  I think I want to stay in 10K shape, meaning I want to be fit enough that a friend could ask me on a Wednesday to do a 10K race the following Saturday and I could say, “Yes” without worrying about embarrassing myself.

Special kudos to the race organizers and all the volunteers who helped make this race happen. You guys did a fantastic job.

And for those who care, here’s how my race results compared to the field:

  • 1853rd overall (top 14%)
  • 544th for my gender (top 7%)
  • 121st in my division (top 10%)

If you want to see my results and my goofy race photos, you can look me up here. My race number was 4040.

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