Week 11 (a hodge podge): Training Baseline

And so the training begins. The 2013 KC Marathon is on October 19, about ten weeks away now. I feel like training really started in Great Bend on the last day of my family’s Estes Park & Rocky Mountain National Park vacation. I read somewhere that a 5 mile marathon pace run is a good “keep up your fitness” run for vacation or an off week. Do one of those, and you won’t lose too much ground.

So after a week of vacation in Estes Park, in which I did a couple of easy runs and one long run (10 miles with 1,900′ of elevation change), I was in Great Bend. We were staying with friends, and he, being a runner, gave me a loop course that looked good, and I headed out early in the morning.

It was nice running in Great Bend. It was neither like Estes nor KC. Instead of mountains or serpentine hills, this route was straight, flat, and fast. There was 19’ of elevation change, not 1,900’. I ran south to Broadway and turned east, before the sun had risen. In about a mile, I was at Main, turned north and headed through downtown. I ran past the zoo, and was on my way out of town before I realized I missed my turn. After running a two mile stretch west, I was on the edge of town and running next to a farm with donkeys, goats, llamas, and sheep all pastured together. Making a quarter turn south and going another mile, brought me back to Broadway. Heading east again, I was running past the cemetery.

They had been getting a lot of rain in Great Bend, but it held off that morning until I was done. A little later in the day, as we were leaving, it was pouring. I mean, biblically, pouring.

The run was a confidence builder. I thought, “If a week of vacation didn’t wipe me out, hopefully I’ll be able to make it through the next 11 weeks of training.”

For the marathon, the goal time is sub 3:15. Solid. My plan is to go out with the 3:15 group and be sure my HR stays under 154 during the first half. The 3:15 group is the antelope. I want to keep the antelope in sight. If all goes well, at some point past Loose Park and mile 13, I will become the Arrow in Om’s bow, and I will beat the antelope to the finish line.

Vacation changed a few things. I started drinking some vanilla soy milk during the morning. This was a vacation indulgence (convenience store French vanilla coffee, yum!) that I turned into a habit. It’s surprising, but a little Nesquick, decaf, and some soy milk does a really good impression of French vanilla. Then I have a bunch of long time rituals. I have cereal (Cheerios, All Bran, raisins, Grape Nuts, and some nuts) mixed with yogurt, chia seeds, and skim milk for first breakfast. I have some type of bread (muffin, bagel, or left over waffle) with peanut butter and a few prunes for second breakfast. I floss after my citrus fruit. I am having a whole wheat tortilla at lunch and 1/2 cup each of fruit, meat, starchy veg/rice, and a green vegetable. I usually dress my tortilla with Sriracha sauce and honey. At the salad bar, I get a few field greens, black olives, some sunflower seeds and a couple of walnuts to add to my burrito. I am taking 10 flights of stairs (4 floors) in a run 2 / walk 1 pattern a few times a day to return to my cube. I let my heels drop to stretch my calves. I have a snack in the afternoon (trail mix), as I’m driving home (fruit and 7 cashews or almonds), and at bedtime (2 graham crackers, light nutella, 12g peanut butter). Those are the major food rituals.

After an article on correcting form issues, I’ve self-diagnosed myself with caving-in-calves and an over-arching back. To correct these short comings, I have (reluctantly) removed push-ups from my strength routine and added planks. I figure it’s more important to have a well-conditioned core than “bulging” triceps. Also, I’ve added single-leg deadlifts. This feels like trying to be an acrobat. I hope I get better at these, but in the meantime, I’m struggling through 4-10 of these in a rep, depending on how good my balance is.

For a while now, I’ve been focusing on sitting up straight: sitting straight in the car (hands at 9 and 3, feet evenly spaced), standing straight at the sink and microwave (hips cocked forward), and walking straight. And I run to my car in the parking lot. It’s funny, once you start running just because, it gets easier and kind of fun. It becomes your preferred form of locomotion. Walking… Is… So… Slow.

In Again to Carthage, (the sequel to Once a Runner) Owen Cassidy remarks that when you win Olympic gold people want to know what you eat for breakfast. And I think that’s funny, because people look at what I eat for breakfast and they say something like “That looks really healthy.” But I can see on their face that their thinking, “I can’t believe you’re eating that.” And what I’m thinking is “Yum! Breakfast!”

And I also think, as I’m eating the same breakfast day after day most days, that “I’m never going to change… this is the best breakfast ever!” But I also know, someday, I’ll go on vacation or read a book or go to the doctor or dentist or talk to a friend, and something will change.

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