Thursday, September 27, 2012

TTT: Foot Foul, 10s, Not Quite Fall

1. Foot Problem: So a week ago, I refereed a soccer game. I wore a new pair of shoes... well, new to me, they were a pair of hand-me-downs. Anyway, I'd worn them before with no problems. But after refereeing that match, I woke up the next day with quite a bit of discomfort, right on my arch. Bummer. I ran Sunday for six miles and my foot bothered me the rest of the day. Took some advice and rested, and finally today - Thursday - made it out for four miles. It was a tremendous four miles. I haven't felt this good after a run in a long time. This is the feeling that gets me back out for more runs - a feeling of pride and accomplishment coupled with the relaxation my muscles and whole body feels from having exerted some energy. I'm looking forward to a 5-6 miler on Friday, a shorter run Saturday and then my last long run before Long Beach. And hopefully my foot won't complain any more.

2. Pacing Group: The 10s have been kind to me this season. Sunday I had my largest group of the season and we crushed our six-mile run. However, more than half the group vanished on me. Crazy how that happens. Some were running longer and left us halfway through, others were feeling it and cruised in ahead of us and still others just disappeared. But the group is progressing along. I think the ones who are around now - and that's nearly everyone who was there on Day One - will at least make it to 10 miles, and once we hit 10 miles I'm confident that we will stick together for the duration. Well, at least until the half marathon in December. I have from now 'til then to sell everyone on running the LA Marathon.

3. Is It Really Fall? Ah, late September. Leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter, time to get out the jackets and jeans... wait... maybe that's what it's like where you are but certainly not here in my neck of SoCal. Thursday's forecast calls for a high of 90 degrees. Friday it's supposed to be 94, with the weekend coming in at 97 and 101, and another 101 on Monday for good measure. At least it's not burning by 8 a.m. anymore. It's still rather comfortable at that time, but by the middle of the day it's unbearable. Fall weather? Maybe by November...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five For Friday

Some random thoughts for a Friday morning...

Last Long Run: I'm running 20 miles on Sunday. It will be the second time in three weeks that I've run the distance (well actually a couple of weeks ago I ran 22 but I'm hoping it's just 20 this time). This will be the last long run before the Long Beach Marathon. I'm excited for Long Beach but mostly I'm just excited that I will be done with the bulk of my training for this. I look forward to getting back into the normal swing of things and just focusing on my Lopers pace leader duties.

Long Beach Goals: I honestly have not thought a whole lot about what I want to accomplish at Long Beach. Part of me thinks that there's no way I can PR so perhaps that's why I've kind of not thought about it. I do feel though that I can and will have some sort of reasonable goal and that I can and will be able to shoot for it. For San Francisco I did not have a specific goal, but rather a goal of simply finishing. But for that race I just did not have the best training for it. Improved training has given me some confidence so I hope to make a reasonable goal.

Pace Group Duties: So far so good with my pace group. I'm sad that I won't be there this weekend for our first five-miler - I've got my 20 to keep me occupied - but it's been a good experience so far. I am a bit troubled though that our group is small. It just seems smaller than before, but the good thing is that there are a lot of first-timers. I do hope they stick around because that's what gives me the most satisfaction, seeing a first-timer tackle this challenge head on and become a marathoner.

Heat: It's so hot here in Southern California! It's supposed to be 106 on Saturday. Unreal. Next week is supposed to be in the high 90s. There's literally no relief in sight. It's fine if it's the summer but now makes it a bit tougher because I can't take the girls to a pool or the beach or something; they're in school, suffering. And then after school we have a lot going on but I may have to figure out a pool trip one day. Cool weather is a distant memory... not that I'm exactly begging for 40-degree temperatures but I'd like for the weather to go down to the 80s and stay there for a bit.

Picture Day: It's picture day at school today. Oh no! That means that I have to make the girls' hair all pretty. Ah the pressure. I haven't made it yet so I'm not sure what will happen but I just hope I don't sentence them to a life of doom. I hope their 2nd and 4th grade pictures come out great. I can do hair but it's just doing it a bit fancy or whatever that kind of challenges me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Only Way To Get Me Through

I have a 20-mile run on Sunday. Pretty soon, I will have a 26.2-mile run. Not exactly easy stuff to get through, but I can get through it. Physically, I feel great and I know that I will be up for those runs when the time comes to run them. But that's not the biggest challenge. Preparing for and running long distances is as much, if not more of, a mental battle than anything else. Many runs and races have been spoiled by a bad mindset.

I'm not exactly sure if I have this mental battle figured out or not but whatever I've got going on upstairs has worked for me. And I'm hoping it continues to work for me.

How do I get mentally prepared for these runs? Simple. I look at it this way: I have two really, really hard runs left this year. One of them is Sunday and the other is Oct. 7. Surely I can give myself all I have to get through these runs. I figure I have anywhere from 70-100 runs left in 2012 - certainly I can handle two of them falling in the "really, really hard" category.

In the grand scheme of things, these runs won't kill me. These runs may push me to the brink but since I don't do them that often, it's okay.

Another way to... well I won't say easily but definitely another way for me to effectively get into the right frame of mind is to keep my goals in front of me. I'm running 20 and then a full marathon within three weeks of each other. I feel like I have to earn the right to call myself a marathoner, a long-distance runner.

Two tough runs left this year? I can handle that. Two runs that will help continue to help me define myself? Sure thing.

Now that I've got my right frame-of-mind in place, I just have to get to Sunday morning. That's a chore in and of itself. Not saying this mindset is fool-proof - I probably won't sleep too much on Saturday night - it will ensure that once I set off on my 20-miler I will be in the right frame of mind, ready to give it all I've got, ready to push myself.

It's not often I'm called to do that after all.