Saturday, April 24, 2010

Portland Marathon Clinic: Run #3 -AKA- I DID THE HILL!

One of the best things about not knowing Portland very well (even though I've lived here for over 7 years) is that I can't be intimidated about the runs long enough in advance to talk myself out them!  Ha! 

Our run today started at Duniway Park in West Portland, near the YMCA on Barbur Blvd.  Actually is started on a track near there.  When I approached the track I saw that huge hill that OHSU sits on, and freaked out a little bit.  I took a picture of the hill with my cell phone and sent it to my husband saying, "as long as we don't run up this hill I'll be okay."  To which he reponded, "be strong babe!"  Thanks dear.

It turns out we did run up that hill, and it was nearly as bad as I was expecting.  We ran 3 miles out and then 3 back.  I ran with the 5hr+ group again and met some new friends again this week.  We ran up Terwilliger, which is definitely a hill.  However, because we were running 1-2 minutes-per-mile slower than I usually run, it actually felt doable.  My calves were a little tight at the very beginning but warmed up quickly and didn't give me any trouble.  After the run Patti explained that most people do hills way too fast/hard and end up wearing themselves out.  She showed us some proper form for running up hills, which was very helpful. 

I met two ladies who raise chickens, several who were training for their first marathon, and one who joined our group after realizing her own pace group was too fast.  I didn't end up running next to the three gals I'd met last week, which I was hoping to do in order to get to know them better.  I've been out of the "making new friends with strangers" gig since well... my whole life.  So this "driving somewhere new to run with strangers" thing is almost harder than the actual runs themselves.  My goal for next week is to be brave and go say hello before our run starts.  What's the worst that could happen? They decide I'm a weirdo and tell me to drop dead?  Maybe.  Not likely.  It might be worse for me to be so shy that I come across as a snobby lady.  I've noticed as I've gone along in life that the "snobby" gals are usually just really shy. 

So, next week = 7 miles and being friendly.
Lord, beer me strength!

Running School!

Part of the training clinic is 5 evening sessions of lectures and information about running.  We're supposed to cover topics like training science, nutrition, injury prevention, race planning, and all sorts of fun stuff.  It's a running nerd's (and a regular nerd's) dream! 

The first session was this past Wednesday and took place at the Kaiser Interstate Hospital's "Town Hall" building.  For those of you who've been around this blog long enough - you might be thinking, "Kaiser?!  How did they trick you into going back there?"  It's quite ironic to me that my journey to glorify God and reconcile with my body would put me in a Kaiser building.  Ick.  But I went!  I drove down there all by myself and found the building - thank you google-maps!  I love being able to use the satellite view to locate buildings and parking lots.  Less stress for me is a good thing.

This session of the class covered some basic introductory topics.  The clinic leaders - Patti and Warren - told us about their running history and shared their goals for us.  Basically, they want us to finish injury free and feeling great.  I'm definitely on board with that plan.  They asked us to trust their 30+ years of experience, especially when their coaching directions seem counter-intuitive to us obsessive newbies.  Hey, anyone who tells me I should be running slower is a good friend of mine. 

They explained some of the basic science behind training your body to endure long mileage, and gave us this huge book they've written called "Marthoning: Start to Finish."  So if you see me in a back corner with my nose in a book... call me a nerd.  Then go run 8 miles. 

I'm looking forward to the next 4 sessions and will keep you guys in the loop with all the fun running nerd stuff I'm learning.

Better Late Than Never?

I was just sitting down to write an update about week 3 of marathon training, and realized I never actually wrote one for week 2.  Apparently writing blogs in your head does not actually count as publishing them online.  Perhaps someday someone will create a program that can read my brainwaves so I can write a blog WHILE I'm running and publish it without having to wrestle a toddler off of my laptop?  Maybe that's too science-fictioney...  yeah, probably.

In the meantime - here's my short version of Run #2:

Our second group run with the Portland Marathon Clinic started at Road Runner Sports out in Tualitin.  I'd never been out to the store before, so I'm really thankful that I was forced to drive there.  It's a HUGE running store filled with all kinds of fun (and useful) running gear, shoes, and really great looking clothes.  I'm saving my pennies for a nice "pretty" outfit for the marathon.  I did silly and whimsical for the half-marathon, now I'd like to look pretty... well, as pretty as one can look when they're running 26.2 miles.  A girl can try!

Anyways - I stuck with the 5hr+ pace group led by Patti Warren.  This woman is an absolute hoot!  She and her husband Warren are in charge of the clinic, from what I can tell, and have 30+ years of experience running marathons (and ultra marathons), coaching other runners and leading the Portland marathon clinic.   It's so refreshing to be able to just trust the coach and settle into the training program.  Especially when they keep saying things like;

More isn't better... it's just MORE!
Faster isn't better... it's just FASTER!
Slowing down by just 5% can help you go twice as far.
"Walk" is not a four-letter word.

I finished that run feeling comfortable and energetic, like I could have done it twice.  According to Coach Patti - that's exactly how I should be feeling.  Yay!  I'm really looking forward to feeling that way when we run 10, 15, and even 20 miles.  I'll definitely keep you posted.

Our run was 5 miles long that week, and included a pretty substantial uphill.  We ran by a park (can't remember the name) and through some neighborhoods.  For a while - after the hill - I got to be the caboose on the slow group.  That's not a very glamorous role, but finally one of the other gals dropped back to check on me and chat.  I ended up chatting with a good handful of the gals in the group and met three gals who are training for their first marathon with this clinic.  I'm looking forward to getting to know some of them and being "friendly" - which is quite a stretch for an introverted homebody like me.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My husband is a rock star!

Earlier this week my hubby ran his very first consecutive 3.1 miles ever in his whole life!  I'm so proud. 

We were on treadmills at our gym on Wednesday and I had just hopped on to do a little two miler easy run.  It was our first time back to the gym after getting over a fast-and-furious bout with the stomach flu, so I decided I was going to take it slow and just do a 4mph jog rather than do intervals.  He chose to do the same, and when we made it to the two mile mark he got so excited that he decided he was going to shoot for 3.1.  He usually does his Couch to 5k intervals at a 5mph and ends up having sore knees and getting tired easily.  But when he ran "slow" with me at 4mph, he said he felt great the whole time and wanted to see how far he could make it. 

The actual run was rather uneventful, as treadmill runs tend to be, but when we finished he was so excited!  He's been told by a couple different doctors that he'd never be able to run.  Once in 6th grade because he had bad knees, and once recently because of his weight.  He proved them wrong and he was so thrilled!  He told me then that the longest he'd ever run before that was during PE when they made everyone do 1.5 miles.  He even thanked me for encouraging him to get started and said he's ready to actually sign up for a race now.

So stay tuned, ladies and gentleman!  There should be some fun news about Team Congdon signing up for some 5ks this summer. :D

Portland Marathon Clinic Long Run #1

It's been a little too long since I checked in with an update so I figured I'd better write this one out as soon as I had a chance!  Thank You, Lord for Ethan's nap - please let it be long enough for me to write a blog.  :D

This morning was the first official training run with the Portland Marathon Clinic.  The actual training runs are free to the community and draw quite a crowd.  We were CRAMMED in a pretty big Nike store in downtown Portland while we waited for things to start.  Driving downtown is a crazy step of courage on my part, especially going by myself.  Hubby asked me how I was feeling this morning before I left and I told him I was nervous to be driving downtown to meet up with a bunch of strangers. He reassured me that they probably wouldn't beat me up.  I replied that I wasn't worried about them beating me up, I was afraid they wouldn't like me.  Oh silly junior high feelings!

But I did it! I braved a drive downtown, to a Nike store (always have avoided "real sports" stores because that's where the cool kids hang out), to wait with a bunch of strangers, to run.  And I'm really glad that I did. 

Pace groups were sorted by anticipated marathon finish time.  I was put in the slowest group, which is just great with me.  We had the option of doing 4, 6, or 8 miles and I decided that I'd just do 4 because our family just got over the stomach flu and I was only able to put in half of my training miles this week.  We shuffled/jogged along at what felt at first like a SUPER slow pace, but which eventually felt comfortable.  The gal leading our pace group shared that she's in her 60's.  She told us that if we want to finish our first marathon (all of us were newbies) and even still be runners in our 60s, we were going to have to trust her and the other coaches when they tell us to do silly things like run slower than we think we should.   She also kept saying, "more is not better... it's just "more" - referring to the amount of miles you run during training.  I liked that encouraging piece of advice.  She said that if we are doing our long runs the right way, we should feel comfortable the entire time and finish feeling like we could do another 2-4 miles.  That's defiitely how I felt today, so I guess it was a good run.

I even made a new friend!  Well, sort of.  Our group had a handful of race walkers along for the fun, and I ended up doing my slow jog right next to a gal who was busting out a really fast race walk to keep up with us.  She started chatting with me and was really encouraging when she found out this was my first marathon.  It turns out she's actually one of the race walk judges this year for the Portland Marathon.  I didn't get a chance to catch her name but hope to next week.  :)  She went with the half of the group that went on to do 6 and 8 milers when I turned back with the 4 mile group. 

Now I'm all home and showered and letting my little one sleep while I get ready to head out to a wedding for a dear family friend.  All in all - it was a great first day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

True Confessions of the Glutton Kind

As I've been moving along in my running and weight loss journey, I have found that keeping a food journal has been a key to success.  I seem to follow a pattern of having a big weight loss "jump" one month - usually about five pounds - and then hitting a plateau  for a few months.  With the stress of these past few weeks, I've found myself mindlessly eating to escape my emotions.  Big 'oops.'  Mindless emotional eating is BAD for running, for weight loss, and - to be frank - bad for your soul.  I teach my students in my Life Work class that God created us with emotions with the intent that our emotions would draw us to Him. 

He means for our grief to draw us into His presence for comfort. 
He means for our anger to draw us to Him as we trust in His justice. 
He means for our joy to draw us to Him in praise and thankfulness.

So, anytime we take our emotions and try to "eat them" rather than following them to Jesus we miss out on the comfort and grace our souls really need.  And we get fatter.  No bueno.

I like new beginnings, so I figured April 1st was as good a day as any to start keeping a food journal again.  Sparkpeople has been my favorite so far, so I signed back in today and started keeping track.  I figure I'll spend this week just tracking what I eat, and then maybe give you guys a summary of what I'm learning.

I am embarrassed to say that I managed to pack in nearly 4000 calories today.  No joke!  Part of that is due to attending a Pampered Chef party and indulging in some Hot Lava Cake, Banana Bread and wine.  Part of that is due to grabbing Taco Bell for dinner on my way over there.  Bad call both directions.  I know that the Lord means for me to glorify Him with every aspect of my life, including the food I put into my body.  When I go on auto-pilot, I eat more than I really need.  I also tend to choose low-quality, high-calorie foods. 

Menu planning and actually taking the time to prepare healthy snacks and quick-meals will go a long way to helping me reduce the amount of junk I eat during the day.  But the real change will have to come at a heart level.  Sadly, I fear that I am not capable of changing my own heart.  I'm just too in love with the crunchy, cheese, melty numminess that is Taco Bell.  So I'm left with trusting God at His word - that He is the one who works in me both to want to change and to actually have the ability to change (Phil 2:12-13).  Then I just have to take it one step at a time and lean into the grace and love of Jesus when I feel tempted. 

Lord - I'm hosed if you don't step in and change my heart.  You promise to do it, and I know you're faithful to keep your word.  So here we go!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Marathon Training: Week 1

I got an email late last week from someone with the Portland Marathon Clinic, with a link to the Beginner's "pre-training" schedule.  Our training program officially starts with our first group run on the 11th.  In the meantime they recommend that we follow this schedule;

M: 2 miles
T: 4 Miles
W: 2 Miles
Th: 4 miles
Weekend: 6 mile long run

Sounds pretty doable to me!  I've been posting all my details so far this week on dailymile, so I won't rehash them here, but I've put in 9 miles already this week and have 4 planned for tomorrow's workout (+ some pilates) and then my own lonely long run on Saturday.

I also happen to have a spa morning planned for Saturday, thanks to Daniel's parents.  Their birthday present to me back in December was a gift certificate for a facial, foot bath and massage at this place downtown. I saved it for after my half marathon as a way to celebrate that accomplishment.  I'm BEYOND excited.  :D