Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Marathon training.

I've put off writing about my marathon training, because I think I've been in denial about the whole thing. Me, running a marathon? Me, the girl who avoided athletic activity like the plague for the first 24 years of her life? I think even after I registered way back last November (oh that post half-marathon high which turned me into a certifiable crazy person), I didn't really think it would actually happen. 

But here I am in July with a little over three months to go, and I think I've finally come to terms with the fact that this is actually happening. I am officially nuts enough to attempt to run 26.2 miles, with my body, that same body that is prone to chronic shin splints and hip strains, the body with one hip that likes to jump out of its socket, with calves and hamstrings so tight you could bounce a quarter off of them, with a condition my doctor informed me is known as "floppy joint syndrome." 

That body will try to run 26.2 miles in November. And while I admit it is bonkers, nut job insane, I also admit that I'm in it now. I've started training, and I have every intention of finishing that damn race. I will do my best to chronicle the ups and down of my training here, mostly because I am obsessed with reading other running blogs and first time marathon stories (crazy likes company). I am not an athlete by birth, but I am doing everything in my power to become an athlete by sheer, stubborn will power. Along those lines, here are some notes from the first few weeks of training.

Green Monster

Nutrition. I am generally a healthy eater, but I am trying to really focus on my nutrition during marathon training. I never really worried about it with the half or with the 10ks I've done, because I could get by eating what I normally eat. But for 26.2 miles I feel like I have to kick it up a notch. I'm focusing on protein and good carbs, and eating to fuel as well as eating for recovery. All of this leads me to the above concoction, affectionately known as the Green Monster. I've read about smoothies with spinach and kale in them and always thought that sounded disgusting and everyone who says otherwise is just lying. But, I gave it a try, using a few recipes I found online and some fiddling of my own to come up with this:

-1 frozen banana
-1 cup of vanilla soymilk
-1/2 cup of mixed frozen berries
-about 4 cups of baby spinach (yes FOUR, I know, wow, that is a Popeye level of spinach, but seriously I could have added more)

Put it all in a blender and mix it up and voila, you have an icy cold blend of healthy deliciousness (so much iron and fiber and vitamins) that does not really taste anything like spinach. There's only one possible explanation-magic. For more protein and calories you could add PB or yogurt, which I fully plan on doing after longer training runs. 

This American Life.

I owe this man so much. My cousin wisely suggested this tip for long and boring training runs-download episodes of the radio show, This American Life. I stupidly did not follow this tip for months, because I had long sworn by upbeat music for running. But after a particularly boring run, I decided to give it a try, and I cannot believe I didn't find Ira sooner. It makes the runs go by so much quicker when you can listen to fascinating stories about things like Coca Cola and summer camp and party schools. Plus learning! Learning while running. Exercising the body while exercising the mind. Okay I'll stop now. But seriously Ira is my unofficial personal trainer.

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