The Day the Music Died (Marathon Training and Such)

It’s less than 3 weeks until the Chicago Marathon.


Last weekend was my biggest and most important training run. It was scheduled for Saturday but I needed to see my Daniel and Sadie (grandkiddies) which I haven’t seen since Labor Day.

They usually spend the Saturday night with us when we are at the apartment in St. Louis. But I could only spend a day with them in St. Louis because I needed to be back in Columbia in order to rest up for my 22 mile run on the MKT trail.

I can never spend enough time with them but we tried to cram as much fun in with them as possible.


I will be glad when this is all over so I can spend quality time with them again. They need me and I need them more.

But, the time is very near and I can get back to enjoying my life and enjoying running again.

Training for a marathon is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done, honestly. I could not even enjoy my Saturday night knowing that I would spend a big part of the daylight on Sunday running plus there’s football on Sunday.

I am now happily in the taper part of marathon training so my miles are going down significantly especially the long run on the weekend.


Now about my 22 mile run…..

It was about 70 degrees when I started but the temps would rise to about 85 or so which is too warm for me. It wasn’t as humid so that was good. I always do my over 10 mile runs on the MKT trail which is a beautiful trail that leads into the KATY trail. It stretches across the state of Missouri.

Kevin always rides his bike with me on these runs because it makes my run more comfortable with him carrying my water, food and other things that I may need. It also makes me feel safer if I get hurt or sick for him to be there. He usually doesn’t stay that close to me and gets to enjoy his ride. He keeps my hand held water bottle full and circles back to see if I need fuel.

But on this morning, I wanted him to spend some time with the Peyton and Eli (my dogs) and give them a nice long walk after their breakfast. Dogs get neglected because of marathon training also.

He dropped me off at the trail head and went back home to walk the dogs. He loaded up his bike and came back to the trail to catch up with me. By then, I had already gone almost 11 miles and was about to turn around to head back. I was getting a little worried that it took him so long but I had plenty of water and fuel. There are 3 water and potty stops on the way. I didn’t stop to potty but did stop to fill my bottle.

I had a respectable speed going (for me) until my toes starting hurting at about 18 miles or so. It seemed my toes were hitting the toe of my shoe causing pretty significant pain. And I had just bought these shoes a half size bigger than the others. I think my socks were too padded at the toe. I don’t want to buy more shoes. I still have some experimenting to do with socks/shoes maybe.

I hate headphone cords. They bother me and cause me to get agitated on long runs. So I decided to try out my Denon Exercise Freak wireless headphones. They fit perfect and work well for the most part. But it ran down my iPhone quickly so I ran out of music at mile 12 or 13. That’s not good. I need music when I run alone.


But I did bring my iPod Nano and headphones stuck in my sports bra! And I got it going and it screwed up. It kept skipping music and playing over and over even though I had it set on shuffle. At about mile 18 or so, I just held it in my hand to keep it from skipping.

So for 12 miles or so, it was easy peasy. It turned to crap after that!

At mile 20, I filled my water bottle, paused my Garmin and was going to decide if I might call it over at 20 and walk the other 2 miles. I saw it as a win/win or a lose/lose anyway because my run was supposed to be 20 miles anyway. But I quickly decided that I would run the last 2 miles. Honestly, with my toes hurting, it felt just as good to run as to walk.

I finished 22 miles!


I walked around a while afterwards while Kevin loaded his bike up. I always have a fear of getting in the car and having those very painful thigh cramps that I get sometimes.

But I did not cramp up the entire day or night.

When I got home, I took a long shower and Kevin made me a couple of bloody marys while I finished watching the Kansas City Chiefs get beat by the Texans!


Even the dogs pampered me.


Later, Kevin rolled my legs and made a delicious dinner. I slept well and work up with no real soreness the next morning and went to work.

I was supposed to run 5 miles last night after work but I came home so tired that I was asleep before 8pm. I forgot to set the alarm and woke up at 6:30am and was supposed to wake up at 4:30am. I also had a terrible headache so I just stayed home.

I started feeling better and got in my 8 mile run on the trail even though it was very warm. I came home and walked the dogs and mowed the yard.

Back to work again early in the morning. I have 5 miles on deck for tomorrow night.

Kevin and I are going to Iowa on Friday to meet and spend some time with my friend Tammy at VeganRunnerNerd. We are going to hang out Friday night and get up on Saturday morning and have a 13 mile run together. I’m excited to finally meet her. We are running the Chicago Marathon together.

Kevin and I will leave for Clear Lake, Iowa that afternoon because my hunny wants to visit the place where Buddy Holly’s plane crashed. He is a huge fan of Buddy Holly. We will head back to Columbia on Sunday afternoon.

~That’s All Folks~


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Why a Less than Ordinary Runner Runs a Marathon

I’ve had many people lately, including runners, tell me how the marathon is not a healthy thing to do to my body. I agree.

I just finished up week 12 training yesterday and completed my 20 mile run. It was grueling. I could barely rest last night because my body ached so much. I am better this morning but it was hard to walk normally when I took the dogs on their morning walk.

I know to people who see me daily, they think I’m hurting myself. I am. They think I look injured. I am.

I even wonder why I do it to myself. I do believe this is my last marathon. I will stick to 5k, St. Pats 5 Mile and maybe an occasional half marathon. That is my comfort zone.

The good thing about the human body is that the injuries and pain now are not permanent. My body will recover.

And it’s because a marathon is out of my comfort zone that I do it.

I do not have a runner’s body. I am much older than the average runner. I run much slower than the average runner. I hate coming home from a long day at work and running until dark. I hate giving up my entire Saturdays to long runs and ache with pain afterwards. I hate spending more time to muscle and foot care than to fun things.

I read something once and maybe it sounds cliché but it’s exactly why I had to do the first marathon at 54 years old.

“A marathon takes an ordinary runner and turns them into something extraordinary.”

That’s why I did it once and attempting to do it again.

Maybe it’s vanity. Maybe it’s insecurity. Maybe it’s because I squandered most of my life as a fat, inactive person.

Yesterday, it was a beautiful, cool and sunny day on the MKT trail where I ran my long run. That trail is nature at its more beautiful here in our area of Missouri. My husband, Kevin, rode his bicycle and carried my water, fuel, glide and other things such as toilet wipes! (just in case HA!). He’s the reason I am able to do this, by the way. I fussed at him a little bit because he never puts the top on correctly on my hand-heal Nathan water bottle. Then it leaks on my hand causing weird friction. But other than that, I had a drama free run. He had a great time on his bicycle. He gave me encouragement. He always has. He told me numerous times he was proud of me. He pepped me up when it was getting hard at mile 15 or so.

The trail was beautiful and he rode at a leisure speed. He loves his bicycle and cycling. For about 13 or more miles, I was able to enjoy the beauty of the morning and the trail.

I wore my outfit that I plan on running the Chicago Marathon in. I have never worn a skirt before so that was a newbie for me. My outfit felt comfortable. The morning was cool (less than 65 degrees). The temps never got over 72 before my run was over. All things were perfect. Well as perfect as it could be for someone about to tackle 20 miles.


My training run was set for 18 miles. The good thing about an “out and back” run is if you go out 10 miles, you have to come back 10 miles. I thought if worse came to worse after 18 miles, I could just call my run complete and walk for 2 miles to get the soreness out. But I was determined this would be a 20 mile run. So it was.

After the run, while Kevin was putting his bike on the rack, I walked around about 15 minutes or so as to not cramp up by immediately sitting in the car. That was a good decision because nothing is worse than thigh cramps after a run. So I walked around the area drinking my water and tears in my eyes because I completed the 20 miler. It’s by far my longest run in almost 2 years and only a few months of colon surgery.

When I got home, I walked around a bit more and sit outside my beautiful back yard enjoying a beer. I was able to enjoy that beer like it was going to be my last one! I felt happy and relieved that I was able to do it. I really had in my head that I would not be able to.

I had a warm shower and got in my favorite pajamas. Kevin rolled and massaged my calves and hamstring muscles. That’s when the euphoria set in for me. I was in pain and high at the same time. A high that only runners know, maybe. I was aching, hungry and happy. I might have been the happiest person in Columbia, MO at that time. Kevin made me a delicious, hearty and healthy lunch except that I wanted about 3 servings of Lays potato chips!

I felt like I was extraordinary. I felt immortal if only for a while.

“Cause we could be immortals, immortals. Just not for long, for long” ~ Immortals by Fallout Boys (Favorite Running Song)

A Marathon Stopper?? Advice from Runners Welcomed

It’s been over 2 months since my last blog post so a lot has happened.

I just got back from our yearly vacation to Santa Cruz and the Bay area. It’s my spirit home!

I am now in week 12 of Chicago Marathon training and there are 32 days left to that big day!

Shit is Getting Real


My Chicago Marathon Running Attire


The runs are getting longer and harder. It doesn’t help that the weather is still hot and humid here. I’ve trained more often on the treadmill than I was comfortable with. I think treadmill running is the most boring and possibly the worst kind of training but it’s all I had many times when the weather was so hot. I also believe that the treadmill training may be hurting the mechanics of my run. I often dread my long, Saturday runs all week long so that screws with you mentally.

I did get in some great runs in Santa Cruz on the beaches, along the coast and a challenging trail run. That hardly even felt like running, though.

I do most of my long runs outside when possible. My schedule over the next couple of weeks is getting tough and there doesn’t look like a let up on the heat.

September Training

But with all that said, an issue has arisen that has me very nervous about being able to train and even run the marathon. I am working desperately trying to resolve it. After about 13 miles or so, my left foot and toes start cramping up. It does so to a point that I am totally unable to run. I usually stop and take my shoe off, massage my foot and go back at it. A few times, it stopped my training run. I can run with a tight hamstring and most anything else but it is impossible to run with a severe foot cramp. My toes actually turn upward and the pain is unbearable.

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Here are the things that I have tried to get rid of it:

  • New shoes and half size bigger to allow for toe room. A professional running store pro helped me.
  • New, expensive socks such as Xperia, Features and Injinji
  • Salt tablets (sodium loss from sweating)
  • Foot stretches and exercises prior and after a run
  • Plenty of water on my run
  • Rolling calves and feet (before and after)
  • I’ve even tried to consciously change my gate and foot placement
  • I’ve cursed
  • I’ve cried

________________________________________________

I’ve basically self-diagnosed my issue as being caused by muscle fatigue caused by muscles higher up the leg chain than my foot muscles. It messes with the running mechanics. I can only deduce that the piriformis muscle strain on my left side is causing the mechanics of my left leg to be at issue which may be causing the foot cramp in my left foot.

Today, I went to one of my local running stores (UltraMax Running) and talked to very nice and helpful young, gentlemen runners. They listened, asked questions and made suggestions. They seemed very concerned and cared about my issue. One ask me if I had an injury of some kind in the last year or so. I did and still have that piriformis muscle issue on my left side! The same side where the foot cramp occurs. He said that all the leg muscles are tied together and an injury in one place can cause muscle strain and issues in the other. He also showed me how to do a proper foam rolling for the piriformis muscle, hamstring and calf. He said a strained calf muscle can cause feet issues. I bought a pair of CEP compression socks today.


I have used the CEP calf compression before. In fact, I trained for my first marathon with the calf compressions and I have not this time. Maybe wearing them again may help. I’ll give it a try this coming weekend. I also bought Hammer Endurolytes at $25 a bottle to try on my next long run. He told me if I took when when I started cramping, I had waited too long. He suggested taking 2 before I start and 1 every hour I run. I’ll do that.


In spite of this potential show stopper foot cramps, I’m very excited about being fortunate enough to be running in the Chicago Marathon. And in addition, I will be running with a friend, VeganRunnerNerd. She lives in Iowa and I live in Missouri. We are now training together virtually but 3rd week in September, we plan a real life run together in Iowa! Yes, I’m excited.

On an odd note, I was asked to write a contributing story for an online health magazine “Healthline Media.” It is undergoing editing now and they will let me know when it’s published. A paid story with freelance agreement and everything! I can’t wait to read what I wrote! The series will be entitled “What Made Me Run a Marathon.” It will also detail my weight loss and my healthy lifestyles journey.

This is very likely my last marathon. Unless by some miracle, I can get into the “Big Sur International Marathon” which is a long shot. I don’t mind the marathon, it’s the damn training!

I probably don’t have any readers left on my blog because I do such a poor job of updating but if any runners read this post, I welcome advice for my foot cramps.

~ChicagoMarathon32Days~