Hello, world. It's been a while since I have posted. Life has gotten in the way, as usual.
We are now 6 weeks out from the Bend Marathon. It's hard to believe that next month, Caitlin and I will be running 26.2 miles over the river and through the woods (not to mention many, many hills) of Bend, Oregon.
I have been running with the FootZone marathon training group for about 6 weeks now. My pace group has quickly become my second family. We share stories about our kids and our relationships. We exchange tips on dealing with PMS, bowel movements, and chafing. But after about 10 miles of chatting, we mainly suffer in silence.
Our run mentor, a man, has the fortune (or misfortune?) of being the only man in our pace group. He is incredibly motivational and always has a smile on his face, despite having to listen to our less-than-ladylike conversations. By the end of this, he will be very well-versed in the ways of the "fairer sex."
This weekend, we will run 17 miles together, up Century Drive and through Tetherow (map below). The run organizers seem to have a sadistic streak, but I know all these hills will pay off in the end.
My midweek runs have been going well. These usually consist of one run of 8-9 miles at marathon pace, and a second Fartlek or hill run. Because I was feeling a twinge of pain in my ankle/lower calf, I replaced the third midweek run with cycling.
It's inspiring to see my own progress. A 5-mile run feels so easy--almost as though I didn't work out at all. Though I am by no means fast, my endurance has increased 200% since I started training: My heart rate drops more quickly after a hard workout, and it stays lower through the easy workouts.
The one thing I am still really trying to dial in is nutrition. I am sticking with the tried and true Hammer Gel during my long runs, starting at 45 minutes and continuing every 30 minutes thereafter. However, I am also starting to incorporate caffeine and protein into my runs. During my last run, I tried (for the first time) a gel called GU Roctane. It includes both protein and caffeine. I'll be honest--it tasted awful, but I felt stronger than I ever have during a long run after eating it. I actually felt as though I could run even longer than 15.5 miles (what?!?).
I also started using a hydration backpack instead of a belt. It is so much more comfortable, and I no longer have to fumble with those damn little bottles.
Anyway, after this marathon is over, I will move back into my comfort zone: triathlon. I am registered for Pacific Crest Olympic, and plan to register for the Portland Triathlon and possibly the Wahine Triathlon at Blue Lake. I have a great new coach who I am excited to work with. I've already learned a lot from him, and it's only been a week; I am looking forward to learning much more over the next few months.
Here's to a great racing season!