Embracing the Suck

So today I ran the Colfax Marathon, it was a great race. Good course. Great weather. Enough entertainment to keep runners interested. However, this was not my day. I'll do a full review of the race but wanted to share my marathon #11 experience. In a word: strugglefest!

Today's marathon in a word: strugglefest. But it's done and the day and course were beautiful! #runchat@runcolfaxpic.twitter.com/WUsY240euz
— Katherine (@MouseRuns) May 17, 2015

So today was not my day. There were a lot of excuses I can make reasons I can give for why it wasn't my day:

  • First marathon at altitude
  • Hip has been bugging me and messing with my gate/efficiency
  • I was really anxious going into it
  • First aid stops that I was banking on for tylenol either weren't there or I some how missed them. All 8 of them.

But the real reason this marathon was a strugglefest was, that little annoying cranky voice in the back of my head never. Shut. Up!

I was my own worst running partner.

I was my own downfall today.

Sure all the things I mentioned above happened and definitely fueled the fire for that little nagging voice to take hold. The blerch was strong today, and it sucked.

Normally, I get into these funks and I can shake it off with a good song or by the time I get to the last 10k I get my second burst. I tried. Nothing worked. It's the first time in awhile that I wished I had a running buddy, someone to distract and motivate me and quiet the annoying inner voice.

Around mile 23 I saw a sign that just said "Embrace the Suck". Yep, that's what I needed to do. Those last 3 miles were slow, I walked when I needed to and ran when I could. In those last few miles I looked up at the blue blue sky and felt the breeze and reminded myself how lucky I was that I have a body that allows me to do it, even on the sucky days. This was the silver lining.

I embraced the suck.

I need to ponder on why this happened some more, but it might be a sign to dial it back and enjoy some other outdoor activities. I'm not going to schedule myself for another race until I feel ready to tackle training again both mentally and physically. Plus, I'm really excited to hike and camp this summer and not be tied to a training plan.

Just know that even if you think you've got the marathon figured out, you don't. Each is a new experience and you discover something about yourself as a runner. Sometimes you fight, and sometimes you just need to embrace the suck.

Taper Time!

Now it's time to put on some comfy pants, have your foam roller at the ready, and get your favorite eletrolyte drink prepared as we enter... the taper zone!

When I'm training for a marathon, I look forward to tapering like no one's business. I count down the miles until I'm officially in taper and can take a break from the long long runs of peak marathon training. However, tapering like training and running marathons, is something you have to practice to get better at. It's something that I'm getting better at but I'm still not perfect at but I discovered a lot through my 10 marathons, and as I begin tapering for my 11th I thought I'd share some thoughts.

My next race will be the Colfax Marathon in Denver and will be my first race at altitude here in Coloraodo. Like the rest of my marathon training plans, I'll have a 3 week taper where I let my body fully recover before race day.

While I enter the taper madness zone, I try to keep cool and remember these things as I approach race day. 

So let's get comfy and talk about playing it cool before you rnext big race!

Trust Your Training

 - This is the hardest one especially if you didn't stick 100% to your training plan. My goal is always to try to stay as true as I can the last week of "real" training before taper. It helps me mentally as I face the next 3 weeks of dialing back the mileage with 26.2 miles ahead of me. I can always go back and remind myself of the training I did and trust that it will be enough to get my across the finish line.

Sleep!

- The most important part of tapering is taking care of yourself. You want to rest so you can be at peak performance level on race day and this includes getting a lot of sleep especially in the week leading up to race day. It's hard because stress dreams creep in as you approach race day and also running less might mean you are less tired and thus have some restless nights. Don't worry, just make sure to take care of yourself!

Strength Train

... a little bit. Without running taking up all of my time, I like to mix in more core workouts and some squats to make sure I can strenghten my hips and core a little bit more to give me the edge on race day. Don't over do it because taper is about letting yourself recover. Adding in a little bit helps me calm my nerves a bit as I approach the race.

Eat Right

In the weeks leading up to a race I tend to eat a little better. I skip the candy and drink lots of water. In the week before the race I try to eat more carbs, less processed sugar, and drink lots of water to make sure my body has the fuel it needs and is well hydrated before I hit the start line. Again, use common sense and take care of yourself leading up to race day!

Trust Your Training

 part 2 - I'm going to end on this piece of advice because it's THAT important. The few weeks leading up to a marathon is NOT the time to make up missed miles that you were suppose to do. Trust that your last 16+ miler will get you to the finish line and follow your training plan to a T for the weeks leading up to the race. You WILL get anxious. You WILL get restless and this is all a part of the discipline it takes to run a marathon.

The moral of the story in the weeks leading up to your race:

  • Anxiety is normal
  • Get sleep
  • Eat right
  • Trust your training

... and just take care of yourself as you approach race day! Good luck all!

WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - Marathon and Dopey Finish

Day 4, here we go!

Woke up feeling tired but had taken it super easy the day before so my legs felt tired but not worn out and I was ready to run this marathon. I had already decided that if my body felt good in the first 5 miles then I would take it up a notch and really try to race this bad boy. It had been awhile since I had set a course PR here and I wanted to see what I could do.

This was my 5th time running this marathon and my experience and increased endurance showed this time around. But I’ll get to all that.

Woke up, threw on my clothes and was on a bus just after 4am. Met up with my Australian friends and we made our way to the corrals. It was chilly but a good running temp (~50) and I was excited to run. We got into corral E and chatted and stretched until it was time to go. Carissa and Rudy were great announcers as always as we impatiently waited for our turn. We were in corral E again and they efficiently moved through the corrals and we were sent off about 10 minutes after the official clock time.

The beginning of the course is the same as the half marathon and the characters in this part were identical to the day before. I decided I was feeling good so I said goodbye to my friends around mile 2 and kept going. Made it up to the castle and it was just as beautiful, really it never gets old.

We then wound around seeing similar characters out as the half and then were back out on the roads. We made our loop around the race track (which is super cool) and then started the journey to Animal Kingdom. It was around here that my legs started feeling sore but not sore enough to slow me down, so I grabbed some Tylenol to help my . We looped through that park and then started the slightly longer journey to Wild World of Sports (WWoS) where it is endless looping. They fit about 2.5 miles into WWoS and you just… keep… running around. It’s a bit nutty. During this part I got some pics with characters I'd never gotten before.

We finally broke free of WWoS and made our way to Hollywood Studios and the final stretch of the race. I LOVE the final miles of the WDW Marathon. I would go as far as to say it’s the BEST last 5k of any marathon I’ve ever run. You run through the studios, then the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht area, and then through Epcot. People are cheering the whole way and there are so many distractions and it’s just great and gives you a nice burst of adrenaline to kick it up for the last stretch.

My legs were tired but not completely gone so I just kept pushing, I was on pace to come well under 4 hours and I was thrilled about that. I was about to SMASH my previous course PR of 4:11. The final mile turned into my victory lap. Picked up some magic from the Fairy Godmother just before mile marker 25, waved to the crowed, waved to the pricesses, grabbed a hug from Duffy, and then set off on the last .25 mile or so to the finish!

We wove through the final turns and there it was, the finish line. I was ecstatic. I ran across with a goofy looking grin with an official time of 3:48:22.  I had not only set a new PR but done so by 23 minutes and beaten my previous Dopey marathon time by a little over a half hour. Crazy!

I had a blast at the marathon this year. Not only did a set a course PR but stopped for pictures and really just had a blast out there. I really fell in love with the WDW Marathon course all over again and also felt invigorated by completing the Dopey Challenge on such a strong note. I really proved to myself how far I’ve come this year and a little bling never hurt either.

The Dopey Challenge is a uniquely challenging experience and, I think I’m hooked. Last year’s Dopey Challenge left me drained but this year I faced the challenge as a stronger more confident runner and LOVED it. I cannot wait to push myself further next year and do it again!

Cheers until next time runners!