Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lessons From My First Training Experience

Tomorrow is the big day.

13.1 miles starting at 7 a.m. EST.

I signed up for the half marathon in February not really knowing how much training it would take for a marathon novice like me to get up to speed (literally - harrharr) in becoming a long distance runner. At that point in February, I thought 5 miles was a lot . . . boy, did I have a lot to learn.

I had the idea in my mind that, for training, I'd run 5 miles 2 times a week, and then Saturday would be my long run for the week, adding a half mile each Saturday. I had worked it out so that by the time I reached the actual race, I'd be totally up to pace with 13 miles . . .until the sickness hit.

I'll save you the hideous details that were the head cold, the sore throat, the coughing, the ear infection, and then big stickler - the pulled muscle (from so much coughing) going from under the shoulder blade in my back all the way to the front to my right pectoral muscle. That one was the big daddy of them all - I couldn't laugh, sneeze, sit/lay certain ways, or run. It killed me not to train knowing the race was just about a few weeks away.

Jon and I went to RiteAid and picked up this baby . . .

Best idea ever.

Starting this past Monday, I've been icing my side for about an hour to help reduce any swelling, and then I'd use the heating pad to help increase blood flow to the area and speed up the recovery process.

As I sit here now, I can tell you I'm almost at 100%.

During my training, I also learned the importance of comfortable clothing and proper foot wear.

When I first began training, I was running in train shoes. Big mistake.
I began getting sharp pains and muscle spasms in the arches of my feet...that is, until I finally bought myself a proper pair of running shoes.

I also found that some of the workout wear I used for 5 mile runs could NOT be worn for 9 mile runs - like short sleeve shirts. The constant back and forth movement of my arms against the fabric of my happy, bright (read: cheap) Target workout tee chaffed the heck out of the soft part of my underarm.

So I went to Dick's and purchased some ridiculously overly-priced seamless running tops.

Although they were both on sale, I ended up paying a little over $50 for both of them. I'm sorry, but if all I'm going to do is sweat in them, I do not want to drop that kind of money...but I suckered out and gave in. Hopefully they'll be what I need.

Oh, and that little gadget in the middle?

That's a little surprise gift Jon gave to me to help me the day of the race - a distance/calorie/activity monitor. It's going to help tremendously during my run. I'll be able to watch my miles and keep the same pace I've been training with. What a guy - he knows I'd rather have a good luck distance monitor over good luck flowers any 'ol day.

Alright, last little bit about my training.

I've discovered figs. Yes, figs...the fruit.

I never had a dried fig until last weekend.

I was originally going to get a Cliff bar for the long bike along the Outer Harbor last weekend, until I stumbled upon these little nuggets of joy.

They're organic, fat free, and provide the natural carbs and sugars to keep one sustained when planning to do rigorous activity. I've been having 2 a day before my workouts and they've been fueling me perfectly - I haven't been feeling sluggish in the afternoon and I find I don't get famished after my workouts. They're a great source of, besides looking like a science experiment and being able to freak out your friends while you eat them, they're super tasty.

I've also learned to listen to my body; to understand how I can supply it with what it needs to produce the results I want/need and then recover. I've learned that it's not getting to the finish line that counts, but the process and the journey that makes all the difference (a big, collective "Awww" here). 

Well, I'm off to pick up my race packet and scope out the race route for tomorrow.
Wish me luck!


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