Marathon Training – Week 19 … Decisions, Decisions

As of today, I have not fully committed to running the California International Marathon.  I have less than one month, and I have not decided whether or not to run this race, or to say, “Eff it!” and let it be my very first DNS!

This is where my Libra personality truly shows.  As a Libra, I have such trouble with making decisions.  I want so much for the answers to just come to me, and for them to just come easy.  I am ashamed to admit that I want decisions to be made for me so I don’t have to think.  I want things to be cut and dry.  It’s too difficult for me to be able to see both sides, and they both weigh so heavily on my mind.  I think too much, is my problem.  I can’t be one of those individuals that doesn’t think and just does, just takes a chance and goes for it.  Instead, I think, and think, and then over think as I weigh the pros and cons in my mind.  I can’t ask anyone what they think because ultimately the decision is mine and only mine to make, and I will have to live with that decision.

So … here I am.  Undecided with only three weeks left to go.  Not only that, I’m currently undertrained and slightly injured.  I haven’t run more than 15 miles in any one given run.  I am also suffering from a lot of issues with my ankles in which they start to give out on me at around mile 13.  I know.  Lots of things to think about, and I better think fast.  Oh boy …

Before I get too deep in thought … Let me recap my week for you …

40% chance of rain ... 60% chance of sunshine & clear skies. I should've banked on the sunshine!
Such a great venue! Loved it! Hoodie & Bling!

Sunday:  Sunday you would have found me in Fresno, California at the Two Cities Marathon.  You will recall that I had spent an awesome day with three of my kiddos on Saturday milling around the Expo and eating dinner, etc.

What can I say about the Two Cities Marathon?  They predicted 40% chance of rain … so what did I do?  I didn’t bank on the 60% chance of sunshine.  I dressed for wet and cold, and instead it was dry, warm, and sunny.  It was a perfect day in Fresno and I was overdressed!!!  Seriously OVERDRESSED.  Wow.  Capris (I haven’t worn a capri since February!!!), tank, long sleeve, and a lightweight jacket (in case that 40% chance of rain falls, y’know?).  Oh, and I can’t forget that I was asked to wear a fox beanie by my son for good luck.  It didn’t rain even one single, tiny drop … It was beautiful and sunny for my entire run.

It was great that most of the hotels offered shuttle service from to the start.  I came alone, no husband, and I didn’t ask my kiddos to come tag along and wait until I was done running.  I didn’t know anyone there, although once I got there, I could see on FaceBook that there were a few people that I knew who signed up.  There were thousands of people at the start.  I had my coffee and breakfast while on the shuttle.  I had some random person snap my picture while waiting for the start, used the Porta Potty, and then made my way down to the corral I was assigned to.

The course itself was really nice.  I can tell you that the crowd support was awesome, as well as the entertainment along the way.  It’s become somewhat customary that I use the porta potty at mile 2 – so I took a short break and went.  Throughout the run, there were ample aid and water stations, there was no shortage or long lines for porta potties either.

I had a great run.  I enjoyed running and interacting with the crowd.  I got a lot of compliments on my son’s beanie, and since our bibs were custom, most people gave me a shout out as I ran by.  As usual, I thanked as many volunteers as I could for being out there to support and help us, and I encouraged most of the runners that I ran alongside.  I have found that it really helps me when I am able to do that for others because I know how difficult it can be.

I ran a fair race.  I can tell you that I started to have ankle issues around mile 7.  Since I’ve had PF, I haven’t really been able to find the correct orthotics to help with the way my ankle turns in when I run.  I’ve kind of been neglecting it because it really doesn’t bother me until after the run.  However, running a half marathon and suffering is going to be much more difficult than running a FULL marathon and maybe having my feet fall off and the ankles.  It may be a real problem!  I’ve been trying to get into see my PT so that he can help me figure out how to stabilize my ankles.  I have also been experimenting with different shoes to see if that will help.  So far nothing.  So … my hubby’s suggestion is that if I do decide to run CIM, he will meet me at the half way point (exchange #3 for the relay) with food and a change of shoes.  Which may be something to consider.

Anyhow … back to Two Cities Half Marathon … the finish was incredible.  LOTS of people cheering.  And a short recovery walk from the finish until you got your medal hung around your neck, water, chocolate milk, and a very warm hoodie!  YES, I said a hoodie!  Immediately after, you are surrounded by tents with people cooking breakfast – HOT meals – pancakes, bacon, sausage, etc., and a tent with ice cream sundaes.  It was incredible!

Getting from the finish, back to the place where the shuttle bus driver said he would be was amusing!  I got lost.  I asked several volunteers and they all steered me in various directions except for the right one.  My only option was to pull out my iPhone, and use my GPS to find my way back.  It was only one mile and some change, so I wasn’t worried.  I had thought about calling my son to pick me up, but road closures and getting my daughter out the door would make things difficult so I opted not to call him.  I would trek my way back, and as I did, I prayed to God that I would somehow meet up with the shuttles so I would not have to walk long.  As luck would have it, I didn’t have to walk far.  God heard me.  I walked smack into the the shuttle bus driver.  Thank you, Jesus!  I got him to take my post-race picture then he drove me back to my hotel without incident where I was able to take a very long, hot shower, and checkout on time!

Would I run it again?  Yes.  It was a really nice venue!  I enjoyed the expo and the post race festivities!  I like the fact that the hotels were able to coordinate shuttles.  I love the hoodies and the hot breakfast.  I enjoyed the course entertainment, and crowd support!  It was a great race.  Not my best race, but it was fun, and I had a good time.

Monday:  I thought I’d rest.  Instead, I hit up AMAA for some cardio fun in the afternoon once I was able to get a good couple hours rest after my kiddos left for school.  You know that I love cardio at AMAA!  I love working out with my friends.  I had to modify a lot of the moves because I can’t throw a left hook because of my bum shoulder, but it was all good.  I had a really great 45 minute session with a lot of leg and core work!  =)

Tuesday:  You found me in the box today with a workout that really kicked my behind!  Seriously … It made me wish that I stayed home.

The warm up kicked my behind … Literally. Thank God for my hubby who carried a little of my weight at the end of the sled pull. Ugh. So weak today!

The Warm Up:
20 High Knees, Butt Kickers
20 Squats, Lunges
20 Kips
10 Push Ups, Pull Ups
400 m sled pull (125 #)
I couldn’t pull the sled at body wt today, so for the last 200m, Chris took a load of 25# off me. Thank God for marriage, right? Sometimes it’s 50/50, 60/40, 90/10 …

Strength:
Since my workouts are modified to accommodate my injured shoulder, my strength workout was Back Squats. Find an uncomfortable weight and do three sets of 5 reps. Okay then. My “uncomfortable” weight was #110 lbs. Yep – both the sled pull & my back squats were close to body wt. Ugh.

The Work Out:
Row 750m
50 HL Push Ups – for me modified to Jump Lunges
50 KB swings
50 Pull Ups – Modified to GHD Sit Ups
Row 750m

It was a really good workout, but when the warm up kicks your butt there’s a problem!  Whoa!

Wednesday:  The gist of it went down like this …

The Warm Up:

Run 1000m then
3 rounds of
10 Walk Out Push Ups
30 Ab Mat Sit Ups

Strength:
Back Squats for me – work up to a weight that is uncomfortable and do 5 sets of 3 reps. Yeah. I love squats, so it took me awhile to find that uncomfortable weight of 105# (I think).

The Work Out:
6 Rounds of
5 Cleans (12# dumbbell touch ground, and lift overhead for me)
5 Burpees
5 Push Presses (26# KB swing for me)
5 Box Jumps
5 Front Squats
5 Push Up Deadlifts

Row 1000m

Thursday:  I love working out. There is no doubt about that. Today’s workout taxed me and made me doubt myself for a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome workout, but it was rough.

The Warm Up:
3 Rounds of
10 Burpees
10 Mountain Climbers
10 Ring Rows
200m Run

Strength/Skills:
Accumulate:
1 minute L sit
1 minute L hang
1 minute L ring support
2 minutes Hand Stand Hold
10 Skin The Cats

Okay … this workout really had to be modified for me because of my shoulder. I could do the L sits, but the L hangs I could not so that had to be modified. The Ring Support I could do. The Hand Stand Hold, I could not … so … my trainer modified it for me so that I had an upside down Bosu ball that I would put my hands on, and then an exercise ball that I would put my toes on and hold for 2 minutes. He wanted to see if I had plank skills … I have MAD Plank Skillz! I rocked that exercise and I’m pretty proud of myself! I skipped the Skin the Cat move altogether because I’m sure that was one of the exercises that jacked up my shoulder weeks ago!

The Work Out:
4 Rounds
200m Sandbag Carry (45# for me)
24-18-12-6
Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
Bar Facing Burpees

This. Workout. Kicked. My. Ass! It took a lot out of me, and I had to dig deep to find the strength to finish. But finish I did, and I finished strong.  But I was dying on the floor when I was done!  Although I had a substitute trainer today, I’m thankful that he was encouraging, and motivating.

When I got home from my workout, I had a message on my answering machine from my Chiropractor, Dr. Brian Crawford, telling me that he had read my FaceBook status and telling me that I needed to get my butt in his office so that he can fix my shoulder!  Lucky for me, my kiddos had an appointment so we all headed down there.  He cracked my back, my neck, then adjusted my left shoulder.  He knew which spots to hit in my scapula, the front of my shoulder, and my bicep.  He knew that there was some nerves that were also getting impinged along with my muscle because of the shooting pains I was getting in my bicep.  How did he know?  I didn’t say a word.  Let me just say that I felt instant relief after getting adjusted, then I was able to use the H-Wave for 30 minutes as I waited for my boys to finish.  I have an awesome Chiro.  He looks out for me, and didn’t charge me for my visit.  He knew that I was hurting as I’d been in a few weeks earlier complaining of the same thing.  He takes great care of my family and I and I would highly recommend him to everyone!

Friday:  It’s Friday, and it’s Veteran’s Day. I’m thinking that the box wouldn’t be open at all, but Noah, Chris, and I, and our tag-a-long, Grace, go in hopes that it will be open … and it was! I’m glad we went because we had a great session. Easy and fun. Well, you know “easy” means something entirely different to me.

The Warm Up:
800m run
3 rounds
10 PVC Good Mornings
10 PVC Squat Jumps
10 PVC Overhead Presses

The Workout #1:
11 minutes AMRAP
11 Ground to Overhead (modified to 26# KB swing)
11 Toe to Bar (modified to Ab Mat Sit Ups)
11 Box Jumps

The Workout #2:
5 minutes AMRAP
10 Ball Slams (modified to side slams for me)
7 Burpees

Deep stretching.

It was a nice way to end my week. =)

Saturday:  Nope … Got nothing for ya today.  I’ve worked out all week and I’m done.  Today’s a rest day for me.  Sleep and recover!  =)  Seriously!  Sleep and recover!

It’s been a great week.  I’ve worked out hard, and I can see results and I like that.  You know that my week last week was crap, and although I know that I need weeks like that where I do nothing, it was still mentally devastating that I had such a long rest period.  It threw my game off on Sunday when I ran in Fresno … Okay … It may or may not have, I just know that I wasn’t 100% at Fresno, where a few weeks earlier I had a great run in Stockton!  I just know that it makes a difference in my game and performance when I’ve worked out.

I know that in the upcoming weeks I have some really hard decisions to make.  I’m sure I’ll end up running CIM if just to run.  I have never DNS’d a race and I don’t know if I really want to.  I know that it won’t be a pretty run, but I know that if I do run, that I’ll finish!  So we’ll see …

Maybe I set my goals and bar too high.  I know that my expectations of myself are very high.  I’m hardest on myself and I expect a lot out of myself.  I’ve tried to lower the bar and my expectations, and I’m not just able to.  I am very good at beating myself up physically and mentally.  I am a positive thinker, and I do believe that what you tell yourself plays a big role in how you perform and what your outcome is … I know that I expect a lot out of myself, but I am also kind to myself.  I know when to back off, and when to let go of the dream.  It might take a minute, but I’m a realist.  It’s all good and I can roll with the punches.

As I roll into week 20, I’ll make my decision as to whether I’ll run CIM.  I’m pretty sure I’ve made up my mind.  I’ve had a couple heart to hearts with my good friends Marci (@BA_MarciRuns), and with Erika (@erikarae74).  I have yet to talk to my husband who knows me best, but seriously, I think I know which way I’m leaning.  Like I said, I know that ultimately the decision is up to me and me alone, and I will have to live with whatever I decide.  I’ll keep training hard.  I’ll get a LONG run in next week and see how I feel, and I’ll keep bugging my PT to help me with stabilizing my ankles.

It’s all good.  I know that whatever I decide, I’ll be okay with my decision.  It’s been a great training week for me!  I expect next week to be another good week.  I’ll make it the best week that it can possibly be.  I have a few friends running Clarksburk Country Run in Sacramento on Sunday … One running a half, the other a 20 miler.  I almost … *almost* signed up for the half, then the half relay … but in the end decided to stay home and chill out.  I don’t feel bad at all for missing a race!  =)  Those who have been following me know that I have been racing at least 2x month.  It’s taxing when you tally up my miniscule training runs during the week.  I know that I’m over a 1000 miles for 2011 already.  I’m proud of that.

So … Week 20’s comin’ up … Get out there everyone.  Train HARD!  Train SMART!  Eat WELL!  And, most importantly, have FUN in the process.

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