Entries in Reflections (11)


Training is winding down; I am ready for Disney; and Thanks!

It's Taper Week 2!  So far, I have avoided Taper Madness (or have I?).

I got in a solid interval training run this morning (which I really needed!).  I changed it up a bit as part of my tapering process -- instead of 1/2 mile intervals, I ran 4 sets of '1.5 minute run between 9:15-9:30/mm followed by a 1 minute recovery'.  Then a 5-minute easy run.  Then repeat the whole thing.  After 43 minutes and 3.84 miles, I felt good!  I really needed that time to myself to help kickstart my day.  And the 35 degree weather was actually quite refreshing today!

The rest of this week is going to be rather anti-climatic though.  I have a 4-mile tempo run scheduled for Thursday.  Tomorrow is a cross-training day which will likely be on a bike for 30 minutes, followed by some pool walking as my 'cool down'.  Friday will be a rest day and I will kick off New Years Eve with a 3-mile easy run and some time in the Jacuzzi.

Taper Week 3 starts January 1st and leads me right into Disney.  I have another CardioPoint Assessment scheduled for Jan 2nd so I can see how my sport zones have changed over the last three months, and adjust my HRM accordingly.  Then I will do some very light cross-training (20 minutes in the pool) and call it a day.  Tuesday will be an easy 3-mile run, my last run before heading to Disney on the 4th.  I cannot WAIT!

The lead-up to this point has been steady, exciting, nerve-wracking yet confidence-building.  I have worked very hard and very long to get to this point.  Even though I still have butterflies in my stomach, I know that I am ready for my first two Disney races.  I have lost weight, gained muscle, increased my endurance, fought to control my diabetes, ran in 13 races, and trained by running for over 500 miles since April.  January 2012 is going to be epic as I cross that finish line twice at Disney (and once more a week later in Chicago for the Polar Dash Half Marathon).

I am so very thankful to God who has been with me throughout this whole process.  It started with His not-so-gentle nudge to get me to see a doctor at the end of April 2010.  That was when I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and I was faced with some serious life-changing decisions.  I chose to face the challenge head-on and to make immediate changes to lead a better, healthier life.

I have lots of friends who have supported and helped me along the way: my family, church friends, my trainers, the Hakuna Matata gang, co-workers, the TrekSF crew, LiHi and GU friends, FB buddies, doctors, the list goes on and on.  I thank each and every one of you because without that support, I would not have made it this far.

And there were role models too: the Endorphin Dude (a fellow recovering diabetic and soon-to-be Titanium Marathon Maniac), Meghan (my trainer/coach who recovered from cancer to conquer two Ironman Triathlons), and all those 'famous' people I hear about and listen to on The Marathon Show podcast.  They have been a source of encouragement and inspiration for me, knowing that if these people can accomplish their goals then I have a chance to do the same!

For those who have read this blog and followed my journey (oh, it's not over yet), my hope and prayer is that you have found something that helps inspire and motivate you to reach for your own goals.  I believe that you can accomplish what you put your mind, spirit, effort, and determination into.  It might take a short time; it might take a lifetime.  But you can reach the mountaintop!

Thanks for traveling this road with me.



Running, Tapering, and Looking Ahead

Saturdays are usually my Long Slow Run day.  Today was no exception, other than the fact that it was a cutback week so my schedule showed only 3 miles.  3 miles?  Hardly a 'long' run.  And, it was 9 degrees outside. Brrrr!!!  So I decided to run at least a 5K distance and then add in my warm-up/cool-down mileage on top of that.  And, I figured since the distance was low, I would pick up the pace.

So I ended up running for 3.3 miles and with my warm-up/cool-down mileage, the whole 'run' totaled 3.87 miles.  I ended up with an average pace of 9:37/mm which I am very pleased with.  No way I could run an entire Half Marathon at that pace, but it would be pretty cool if I could run the last 5K of the race at that pace (assuming I have enough 'in the tank' to ramp it up for that long).  Either way, it was a good solid run!

I have one final 'normal' training week remaining.  I am scheduled for a little over 20 miles next week, including my final 'long' slow run of 12 miles on the 17th with my buddy Mike.  After that, I will start tapering off my workouts, shortening my Interval Runs and reducing my Long Runs to 6 and then 3 miles.  And before long, I will be at Disney, walking through the Expo, and preparing for my races.


I wonder if I will feel any of the 'taper madness' I have heard about.  But first, a definition.  "Tapering" is a phase in your training for a race.  Some will say it is as important as any other aspect of race preparation.  It is the 1-3 week process (depending upon the race distance) where runners begin to wind down their training to allow their muscles to heal (from all the high mileage activity) and recharge themselves with glycogen and nutrients.  It is also a time for getting rest (yes, more sleep!) and relaxing before the big day.  Each week sees a reduction in the miles being run, and the pace of those runs are supposed to be very easy.  No speed work, no hill work.

For me, running 20+ miles a week, it sounds both relaxing and worrisome to be cutting back on training leading up to a race.  I have to go from 20 miles a week to 14, and then the following week down to 10? And either cut out my TEAM Fitness workouts, or severely reduce those workouts the first two weeks of tapering (and VERY light cross training -- 15-20 minutes tops -- on the last week).  Wow!

Some runners experience what's called 'taper madness' -- the phantom pains, panic attacks, depression, and much more that plague some runners during this three-week period of decreased training just before the race.  I do not think I will have that problem, but it does happen (mostly for marathoners and ultra marathoners).  I think my biggest issue will be dealing with the anticipation of the race, the trip preparations, the excitement of meeting my racing team friends, and the anxiety about how I will perform on Race Day.

I found a pretty decent article about Tapering on Runners World.  Check it out here.

Looking Ahead

I have been doing a lot of thinking about this journey that I am on, and where it might lead me.  What happens when I reach my goal weight?  What happens after I run my first Full Marathon?  Will I be able to maintain my healthy habits?  Am I going to continue to run and enjoy it?

My weight loss has been slowing down, almost at a plateau for the past month.  Part of that is because with all the workouts and running, I am developing more lean muscle mass and muscle weighs more than fat.  So while my weight is not drastically going down, I am still losing inches off my body.  So I know things are still happening that are positive.  But at some point, I want to see the pounds start to fall off a little faster (like in the beginning).  I know that it is not realistic to maintain that kind of high weight loss profile, so I need to adjust my expectations and be happy with a 3-6 pound monthly loss.  I really wanted to reach my weight loss goal by next summer.  I think that is still possible.  Then, I will have to work to maintain the weight.  That can be its own challenge.

As for running, right now I plan to continue to set short and long term goals for myself (as long as my 51-year body, legs, and knees are up to it).  I already have a race schedule set for 2012 which I am happy about and believe is reasonable.  I plan on running the Disney Marathon in 2013 and possibly the Chicago Marathon that same year (depending upon how I feel about full marathons after Disney).  After that, I have no race plans.

I am praying that I will continue to be able to run 3 days a week just for fitness and fun every week for as long as I live.  I have this dream that perhaps once a year, Christi and I can go on a trip and run somewhere exotic -- Hawaii, Jamaica, London, Greece, Africa -- or maybe take a "runners" cruise like the one John Bingham and Wendy Hadfield offer.  Just for the fun of it!

This week, I was listening to an episode of the podcast "The Marathon Show" by Joe Taricani, and he was interviewing someone who plans and chaperones "running vacations" all over the world.  She was talking about the Kilimanjaro Marathon/Half Marathon event (at the base of the Kilimanjaro in Africa) that she takes a group to every year.  Oh would I love to go out there and run that race!  And while there, you can optionally go on an African Safari, and even climb the Kilimanjaro!  Now wouldn't that just be the best vacation ever?!!!  I think so!

I was talking to a friend on FaceBook last night, whose husband has run several marathons and other races.  They just got back from Negril, Jamaica where he ran the Raggae Marathon.  This race has 10K, Half, and Full Marathon events and is located by one of the best beaches in Jamaica.  Her photos were amazing!  The next one is on December 1st, 2012.  I am telling you right now, I am really interested in running a Half Marathon there!

So I guess, as long as there are ways to keeping running fun and exciting, and the body stays healthy, and I can afford it, then I am going to keep on running! I might start to really increase my swimming too (perhaps there is a aquathlon -- swimming and running -- in my future).  I am still shying away from the triathlon... :)