Monday, January 31, 2011

First Long Run – Elise

So the weekend before this last one I did my first of the longer build up runs. Normally I am doing six to seven miles on one weekend day but this run was 14 miles and of course it ended up being one the coldest days of the winter. I was nervous about being too cold so I quadruple layered on top and double layered on bottom. I also wore a hat, neck gator and gloves. I once was told by someone that when running you can dress for weather ten degrees higher than what it really is outside. I tried that and it actually seemed to work. My only physical complaint from the cold after the run was a sore nose from rubbing it because it kept dripping. The run itself wasn't that bad. I brought a water bottle with me and tried to work on taking sips every once in a while. I ran with a great audio book, The Help, which kept me from getting bored. All and all it was a good first longer run.

Expert Advice: Training Tips

My name is Garth Savidge. I am a Physical Therapist at Newton-Wellesley and have been practicing for 10 years. I work in outpatient orthopaedics and have worked in sports medicine with a focus on running injuries. I have run the Boston Marathon three times, and have several 1/2 marathons, 10Ks and shorter races under my belt. Now my running is primarily a way to stay healthy, so I'm down to three times a week but I still enjoy it. I will be posting tips and advice to address some of concerns that come up during marathon training. To kick us off, I thought I'd address some of the things I read in the posts from our Hospital bloggers.

Training Schedule: For first-time runners especially, but really for everyone, this is incredibly important. If you don't put the time in, you'll have a harder time come race day: increased risk for injuries, less comfortable and ultimately less fun! This is what it’s about after all! So pick a training program and stick to it – some variation of three shorter runs during the week, a day off before your long run and a long run on the weekend. Cross training is also important…bike, swim, sports, shoveling snow!

Hydration: Your body needs both water and fuel to keep you from the not so pleasant BONK! You don't want to hit that wall, so get this part right. Volunteers hand out water/Gatorade and energy gels, so if you plan to utilize these, get used to them now. I had a friend that did not train with water or gels, but on Marathon day he stopped at every water stop. His body didn't respond well. Train how you will run. For long runs, either use a water/fuel belt or have someone meet you at regular water stops, hide a water bottle in bushes, etc. Hydrate with small amounts regularly, but don't over do it. Getting rid of the water after you drink it can also be a problem!

Boredom: Distance running is a mental challenge. If you put the miles in, and can avoid injuries, then the rest is finding the time and not letting yourself get inside your head. This is a killer. So include…workout mixes for your iPod, audio books, I like the dictation idea. If at all possible, try to do your long runs with at least one other person or a group. This isn’t for everyone, but you'd be surprised how fast the time flies. Good conversations, jokes, commiserating, training tips, etc. Lots of good mind game/association games to play as well.

Bottom line, keep your mind away from negative thoughts like how long the run is, anxiety about whether or not you can do it, how tired you are, it’s raining, snowing, there's a big hill in front of you, your foot hurts, your legs are sore, you're hungry, need a bathroom, can't go to the bathroom, its 2 degrees below zero…whatever. This is all irrelevant! Keep your mind away from these thoughts and you'll be able to do it. The personal satisfaction you'll feel each week you complete the long run and then on race day will overcome all these negative feelings. And for you first time marathoners – each long run is a new personal best in distance! So stick with your schedule and before you know it you'll have run an 18-mile run and be amazed at how 12 weeks earlier you were nervous about running 6! Good luck runners!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First Timer – Todd

Hello! My name is Todd Abbott and I am going to run the 115th Boston Marathon to raise money for Integrative Support Services at the Vernon Cancer Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. This will be both my first marathon and my first blog. I will start off with an introduction to who I am and how I have gotten here. On future entries, along with detailing my marathon thoughts and concerns, I will also expound on each of these items.

It all started on December 19, 1969. I was born in Fort Defiance, AZ; however, I was raised in Boise, Idaho where I lived until going to college. I attended Hope College in Michigan followed by the University of Washington School of Medicine. Medical school was paid for by the US Air Force, and after graduation I was assigned to bases in Virginia, Montana and Germany. I worked as a flight surgeon, and cared for aircrews and their families, and participated in a number of unique activities. I then completed a residency in pathology and a fellowship in cytopathology at the University of Virginia. I moved to Newton in the summer of 2007 to work as a staff pathologist at Newton-Wellesley. I have been married for 12 years and we have three children aged 4, 7 and 9. Right now, my hobbies primarily have everything to do with having a family. We participate in the sports of every season and enjoy bicycling, hiking and fishing.

I have been running for exercise since my senior year in college; however, it has usually been only a few miles a day. I have run in a handful of 5k races and in one 12-member team event: the Mount Rainier to the Pacific Relay. I created my own training plan by looking at a number of other 16 to 18-week plans for first-time marathoners. The plan has runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with long runs on Saturday. I have at least three weekends of snowboarding built in, which I am counting in as “cross-training.” Training takes away time I would have otherwise spent with my family: helping the kids get ready for school during the week and playtime during the long Saturday runs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Chance to Run Boston – Elise

I have been running since right after high school. All through high school I did volleyball, basketball and water polo so I never had the time or need to run after practices and games. After high school I started running to keep myself in shape and ended up really enjoying it. I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2008. After that one, I told myself that the only two other marathons I would ever be in were the Boston Marathon and the original one in Marathon, Greece. When I started my job here in July 2010, I found out that you could win a bib number through the Hospital so I thought that this would be my chance.

I am going to use the Jeff Galloway method for my training. It is a good method for people who work full time. You do shorter distances during the week and then longer ones on weekends. It’s funny, I am pretty good at working out regularly but normally if I don't feel like working out one day I just give myself a break. But now it seems like it is a job. I can't slack off or my training will be off. I think most people are concerned about Heartbreak Hill. Luckily I live right by it so I get to train on it pretty regularly. I hope that helps when it comes to race day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Productive Long Runs – Jacqui

I am now in week two of my 14-week training for the Boston Marathon. I finally did my first “long” run last Saturday after putting it off the whole day. I was a little anxious about doubling my run distance to six miles, but I got through it just fine. My training schedule has me booked for a rest day the day after a long run, which was much needed and appreciated. I am trying to keep my same turtle pace so that I can make it through the longer runs without burning out.

I am beginning to realize that running for extended periods can get a little tedious though. In the past when I have done my usual workout, I go really hard for 30-40 minutes and have no time nor energy to get bored. But now I am going for distance, not speed. Since I am trying to conserve energy and pace myself, my mind tends to wander and I start to think about when the run will be over so I can get such-n-such done. In this age of multi-tasking, I have a hard time not being “productive” during my runs. I know this sounds crazy when I see it on paper, that training for a marathon is not productive enough for me, none-the less it is what is going through my mind over and over again while running. It reminds me of when I was breastfeeding my son and had to pump at work. I would be at my desk with both hands occupied with pumping, while a huge pile of charts and paperwork loomed in front of me. I would keep trying to hold both pumps with one hand to get a form completed or an e-mail sent and would always end up with drops of spilled milk on my clothes! Later when I would share this with other breastfeeding moms, we all came to the conclusion that just maybe a forced 20 minutes of brain downtime was not such a bad thing after all. But an hour or two or more of inner reflection? I am not sure that I have enough material in my head for that much self thought. Maybe an audio book could help. I also think a better workout mix is in order, one with all fast tempo stuff to keep me moving. And if I get really antsy while I am training, I could always get a dictation device and write a famous book – or at least put together a grocery list or even write this blog.

All of this leads me to wonder if the Boston Marathon has a ban on headphone use during the race? Thankfully this is not the case, though headphone use is discouraged, it is not banned. Whew, I am not sure that I could do this without my iPod!

My First Marathon – Jenna

My name is Jenna Zaffini and I am a Clinical Exercise Physiologist at Newton-Wellesley on 3N in Cardiology. The Boston Marathon 2011 will be my first marathon! I have run a few half marathons, 10Ks and other smaller races over the past seven years, when I began running, and decided now that college is behind me, I have more time to dedicate to hitting the pavement. I began running in college as a way to stay in shape and relieve stress, and am now quite addicted.

As a native Bostonian, I chose the Boston Marathon as my first 26.2 miler because the course runs by my apartment in the Back Bay, and after volunteering with the John Hancock Elite Athletes for a few years, I have developed a great appreciation for the race and those who have conquered it. During the week, I will be doing my shorter to moderate length runs in and around Boston with friends who are also running the marathon, and will be doing my long runs on Sundays with the L Street running club, who I have recently joined. Even just among these first few weeks, I can tell that I am going to have to adjust my evenings not only to allot for more time to run, but also sleep and relax, things I am sure I will come to appreciate more and more as training progresses.

The thing I am most concerned about running the marathon is making sure I am keeping up with my health as mileage progress, including making sure I am hydrating properly, sleeping enough and relaxing enough as to not get warn down. Although the weather has proved challenging so far, I am excited for the next few months, increasing my mileage, and conquering one of the toughest marathons courses in the country.

My Bucket List – Jacqui

I “won the lottery” to run in the Boston Marathon this year. I have very mixed feelings about this, as I have really grown to dislike running over the last 10 to 20 years. I had always been an athlete who was made to run as a punishment or to train for a season, but never to run as the actual sport. After multiple sports in both high school and college, I quickly abandoned running once other exercise modes were introduced to the market. First I found the Stairmaster, then the as-seen-on-TV walker, next was the elliptical and my latest love has been for wii active. I can honestly say that I have not actually gone running for any real distance for more than 10 years. Though I do exercise vigorously on a regular basis, I have been avoiding running as it reminds me too much of prior years of grueling double sessions in the unrelenting harsh sun.

Why then do you ask did I put my name in the hat for the Boston Marathon seat? Excellent question, one that I am still asking myself as I write this. Though I have always hated to run, I have also always secretly wished that I loved to run. I want to take back my ill feelings toward running and rediscover them, maybe even feel that runner’s high that everyone talks about. Running a marathon ONCE is also on my bucket list of things to do before I die, like jumping out of an airplane, skiing the Alps or going to Costa Rica to see the baby turtles trek across the beach. Why my bucket list was never updated once I discovered that I actually really hate and dread running, I’ll never know. But here I am considering running a marathon in 14 weeks. I quickly called my lifetime friend who has run the Boston Marathon to get her input. She thinks it is amazing that I would get a chance to run in the Boston Marathon as a first timer. What a great honor this opportunity is for sure, but am I up to it? I then did some Web research to see if it is even possible for a non-runner athlete to train for a marathon in 14 weeks. After much research, I have concluded that it is possible if my goal is not for a particular run time, but rather a goal of finishing the marathon. So I sat down with my husband to outline a plan for the next 14 weeks. Thankfully my husband has agreed to watch our 15 month old on the one day a week that I do my long runs. I am also borrowing a jogging stroller from my sister as I am sure I will need to do the shorter runs with my little boy in tow.

The long runs start out at six mile runs but will go up to 18-mile runs over the course of the next 14 weeks. Since I am not very fast, the long runs will take many hours. I then ended the day with my first training session – a three-mile run. I chose to run on the treadmill to start to learn about pacing myself. I set the treadmill on a very minimal incline and a speed of a 12-minute mile and started the run. I was thankfully able to finish without difficulty, but am very anxious about the first six-mile run.