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I Did It!

In case you were wondering…I finished the Marine Corps Marathon. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t what I hoped for, but I didn’t stop and I made it up that hill and finished.

It was the best and worst experience of my life, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Except for maybe the searing pain I felt in my left foot while crossing the 14th St Bridge at mile 21. Even still I fought through it and finished.

All my fears of not making it through the Gauntlet and Beating the Bridge disappeared as I ran to beat Sandy. The weather was actually pretty perfect. Mid-50s, cloudy, a bit of wind (more on that later) and not a single sprinkle.

The spectators were fabulous and I highly recommend any marathoner write their first name on their shirt. (We used hot pink duct tape) When you hear your name being called it really makes you feel special and gives you that extra push. The signs were superb. With “Paul Ryan already finished” at mile 6 probably being one of my favorites.

Haines Point was the beast we knew it would be, but the road was lined with pictures of fallen soldiers and marines holding American flags, making it really inspiring. Especially when the wind decided to pick up and we had to run INTO it on the absolute worst part of the course. TERRIBLE

As the anxiety of beating the bridge fell away I turned to a fellow runner who said “is it bad that I just want to walk the rest knowing that I am going to be allowed to finish now?” It was his first too and I asked him “is that how you want to finish?” He smiled said no and we took off for the bridge.

The last 6 miles were brutal. I started talking to myself at 3. “You can do 3 in your sleep any given day.” At 2 it was “you don’t even break a sweat running 2.” And finally, I started telling myself if you don’t make it up at hill what was this for? I finished saluted the Marines as they handed me my medal and looked for my family.

Did a Marine cluck at me like a chicken when I said I couldn’t hop the fence to see them? Yes. Did he make me do it? Yes, because as he said “if you can run 26.2 in my honor, you can hop a fence for me too.”

Yeah this was awesome!


Tomorrow I Become a Marathoner

Everything comes down to tomorrow. All my early weekend morning runs. All my speed and hill drills. All the conversations and all the questions have prepared me for tomorrow. If someone asks me if I am ready, I can confidently say “I am ready for the first 20 miles.” Those last 6.2 on the other hand I am really counting on leaving my body and not even remembering what is happening.

Despite the Frankenstorm that is going to make me seriously wet and cold. I am excited. I just hope that the spectators are still excited and planning to be there.

The Expo yesterday pumped me up. The post this morning from Marine Corps pumped me up. The fact that my parents are currently on a plane on their way here has pumped me up.

I am pumped and ready for this.

For those of you who aren’t in DC, but want to stalk me…you can do so here.

I will ask the hubby to update on my status when he sees me…so follow @Josh_Landsman for updates too. I am also trying to link my Twitter account to live Tweet, but who knows if I did that right.

See you on the other side!

Marathon Week: Is Carbo-Loading Totally Necessary?

I’ve never really believed in carbo-loading. I think it is because I love carbs too much and eat them way too often to see a real difference. Yes, I will eat my pasta the night before the big race, but do I really need to add on a bagel, some garlic bread and whatever else my little heart desires?

Then I saw this article via the ever lovely Katie’s Pinterest. It breaks down the optimal calories that need to be added during marathon training (a little late for the race, but whateves).

For a 150-pound person, the math would look like this:

150 pounds x 10 = 1500 (This represents, crudely, your resting or basal metabolic rate—the energy, or calories, you need to stay alive at rest.)

1500 x 0.10 = 150

1500 x 0.75 = 1125

TOTAL = 2775 calories per day needed

For dinner: the article recommends pasta, protein like a tuna, a red sauce or olive oil and some tomatoes. Check that off as what Laney is having for pre-race dinner.

For breakfast: she actually recommends pancakes, a protein shake AND a banana! That to me sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. I will be sticking with my oatmeal, peanut butter and banana thank you very much.

Post race: chocolate milk…mmmm. Has to be my favorite part of finishing a long run. That and the massive amount of food that I will consume and not feel guilty about in the least bit.

Marathon Week: Let’s Talk Music

Before training for MCM I was devoted to my iPod when running. I couldn’t leave home without it and if it died in the middle of the run…THAT was a disaster. Even when I trained for my half marathons in NYC with Kristin (different one) and McKenzie I had one ear bud in while we ran. We all did.

During this training time though, that just didn’t happened. My long runs included chats with Kristin. Sure when I was alone on my tempo and speed runs I was listening to music.

So the question is what do I do for race day? Part of me says bring the iPod just in case you need to get out of your head. Another part says just enjoy it…then my brain reminds me how much I HATE Haines Point and will desperately want my music.

I have a playlist that is about 3 hours with some good songs on there. Old school No Doubt, new school techno stuff. I think I need a few more songs just to be safe. Throw your suggestions in the comments please!

Marathon Week: Here We Go

Taper has been good to me. The 11ish miles through the zoo and the 9 miles on Saturday to bagels had me feeling refreshed and like I could take on anything. So much better than my last 20 miler that left me tired, in pain and unsure whether I would even be able to complete the marathon.

I also started getting neuromuscular massages once a week, which have revolutionized my incredibly tight legs that NEVER seemed to loosen up.

I feel ready. Sunday is just a few days away and I am getting excited to experience this.

Of course, being the type-A person that I am I started checking the weather as soon as it would appear on my 10-day planner. Yesterday it was cloudy 70/54, 10% chance of rain. Today, we are looking at 64/48, lots of humidity and 30% chance of rain. Lovely, just what I want to run my first marathon in. Literally, there was not ONE run that was done in the rain during training. There was one 15 miler that Kristin and I raced the clouds and got sprinkled on a bit, but that’s nothing.

I really don’t want it to rain for a couple of reasons. 1) I hate that humid feeling where you are warm so you take your jacket off and then you are cold. Happened during the GW Parkway 10M and that sucked. 2) The spectators. I need them, I need them to cheer me on even if they are strangers and if it is raining we may see less of them. 3) I hate that squishy feeling in your feet when your shoes and socks are soaked.

Given that we have six days until the race, I am praying something changes. Or that it is only going to rain after 2 pm.

And now a photo of us from the Color Run.


If I Ran the Zoo

Taper time is here! Along with just being exhausted…I am tired of running the same routes so when we needed to find one for today that had us hitting 15 miles I decided to get creative.

Inspired by my love of being a running tourist and the fact that it is simply gorgeous out right now…I decided to find one that took us through the zoo. I haven’t been excited for a run like this in ages. I met Kristin and Megan in Georgetown and headed up Rock Creek Parkway and then of course up, up Connecticut until we reached the zoo.

Get it, double meaning of “ran” Total geek over here!

I haven’t actually been to the zoo since we moved here and honestly after this morning I have no idea why. We started small with the monkeys–disappointed until we looked up and saw them hanging out.

Good morning monkey!

The coolest thing was the “O-line” which allows the resident Orangutan to literally swing from habitat to habitat. He was too engrossed in his breakfast to give us a show, but I am now officially dying to see it. Then we ran over to the seals and sea lions, hit the wolves and the bears.

Then we headed over to the “Big Cats.” And I have to tell you, in all my zoo visiting years I have never seen or heard lions be so active. It must have been feeding time, because they were talking to each other and staring at the three of us like we would be incredibly tasty.

They were very hungry

After the zoo we headed back to Rock Creek and then back into Georgetown. I had so much energy today and felt really good. Feeling like ok, I can do this.

A Runner’s Crisis

At some point during my decision to become a serious runner I became a shoe snob. It used to be I walked in tried on ones that felt comfortable. If they were on sale, double whammy. But as my miles increased my need for the RIGHT shoe increased. Saucony is my brand of choice and I’ve used the Ride 4 and more recently the Guide 5.

That Guide 5 is what I’ve been using to train. Last week, I noticed my knees were hurting a bit more an usual and realized “crud I probably need new shoes.” So I walked myself over to Pacers Clarendon and asked for my shoes. No go, but they had them in Silver Springs and could get them to me no later than Wednesday. Perfect I said and went about my business.

Except when I returned from NYC on Wednesday, there was no message telling me my shoes were in. A quick call told me the shoes were “lost” or what I’ve decided we’re sold to someone else. Frustrated, but not in panic mode I called Potomac Running. They had one pair on hold for someone else but I could have them if they didn’t show up. Not taking that chance I called Georgetown Running Company, only to be told “nope we’re out.”

That’s when the panic set in. I looked them up on Saucony. They were only in the sale section….ok I can live with that price! Unfortunately, they don’t have overnight shipping and expedite meant 3-4 business days. I called begging. There was nothing they could do…try Zappos.

Fine, Zappos had them but not at the sale price and 1 day shipping was $25. Let’s be honest, at this point I was willing to pay anything to get my shoes here before my run.

I called and reached Christopher. Who listened to me whine and beg for a match price. He gave it to me (one time special deal) AND upgraded my account to give me free shipping.

My shoes arrived on Friday in time for me to get in a short break in run before my 20 miler. So thank you Zappos for saving me from a serious runner’s crisis.


Exercise Apps Fall Short

Thanks for marathon training I’ve finally tested out apps like RunKeeper and MapMyRun. They’ve worked out great for the most part, but are really just used so that I know where I am going. My use of the Nike Fuel band lasted approximately three months, and then I got bored.

So it was really interesting to see Brigham Young University’s (BYU) study on the effectiveness of these apps actually changing lifestyle behavior. Researchers analyzed 127 of the most popular apps with most falling short on this goal because they weren’t based on the sound scientific theories proven to spur real behavior change.

It all came down to lack of customization. Getting general recommendations means you are less likely to follow through (hence my boredom with the band).

Essentially, we need to start seeing a combination of apps built on psychological principles that trigger true behavior change for them to make a real impact.

The study was based on apps from 2009, the newer ones might be better.

Are there any apps that you use religiously that have changed your behavior?