Marathon Mondays: Pregaming a 10K with a 7.7K

by Shawnda on September 16, 2013

in Running

Just Run for a Just Cause 10K

That was the view moments before the start of my first real 10k! I was standing in that church parking lot, trying to will a little divine intervention out of the sky to help me figure out how the heck I was going to run 6.2 more miles – because I’d already run a too-fast 4.8 to get there. It was hot. I was tired. And sweet Jesus, was it humid.

The whistle blew. Or maybe it was a gun, I don’t remember – I was already on empty and praying to both real and Gu gods. And then we were off, heading for a double-loop of the 5K course. Man, was it so tempting to just duck into the finish line at the end of the first 5K. There was Chick-fil-A. And bananas. And recovery smoothies.

But I didn’t. My friend Erica would have thrown a water bottle at me. And I would have been super disappointed in myself afterward. Everything hurt. I tried to walk, but things hurt more when I walked than when I did that tortoise-slow jog-shuffle thing. So tortoise-slow jog-shuffle thing it was for the last 2 miles.

And then there were people standing at the end of their driveways with bottled water and bowls of ice. And it was the best tasting water and the ice-coldest ice I’d ever rubbed on my face. GLORIOUS. And then it was over. Finished. 10 seconds faster than my targeted training pace!

And even though I’d run 42.26 miles this month, I couldn’t wait to get back out there again.

A few things I’ve learned the last few weeks:

1) Training outside is insanely important. I’ve been hitting the treadmill to train for most of the summer because the easiest time to run is in the middle of the day, while Landry is at school. And since it happens to be nearly (and sometimes over) 100F by that time of day, it seemed like a no-brainer. But then I ran 11 miles on a Saturday and still hurt on Tuesday. There’s just no substitute for feet-on-pavement. The physical impact on your body, the elements – everything is different. And at I realize now ththose everythings really matter.

2) Nutrition and fuel are insanely important. Getting enough good carbs for energy, access to mid-run carbs for energy, and getting enough protein for repair and recovery… it’s not at all complicated. My go-to resource for nutrition has been Matt Fitzgerald’s New Rules.

New Rules for Marathon and Half Marathon Trianing

My go-to resource for mid-run carbs has been Gu. Specifically Chocolate Outrage or Plain. I ended up ordering a big box from Amazon – cheaper ($1.13 vs $1.61) and I wasn’t in a panicked rush at 8:57pm on the night before my first 10K, trying to get to a store for 2 packs before it closed. (Why can’t I ever buy more than I need?!)

Gu Energy Gel Chocolate Outrage

Pre-run nutrition I’m still trying to figure out. I want to be able to eat something before big runs but even a slice of 15-grain bread with peanut butter doesn’t sit well. But that’s usually around 5:30am and I can’t imagine anything will sit well until I get used to getting up early. So far, empty-stomach-running has been the best.

Post-run nutrition – I’ve got that taken care of for a while, thanks to the BOGO sale on Fage Total at Sprouts this week :)

3) Safety is insanely important. I have been leaving the house before dark so I picked up a little clip-on LED that says “Hey, neither of us really want to be up before the sun on Saturday so please don’t take it out on me,” to motorists.

I’ve tweaked my training plan a bit, and rather than doing the standard 3-mile runs on “short” weekends, I have been aiming to do half of the next week’s long run. Last Saturday I ran 6.5 miles because this Saturday I somehow have to crank out 13. A half marathon. Without the adrenaline of being in a race.

Disney World, here we come!

(I hope.)



Marathon Mondays: It Just Got Real. Real real.

by Shawnda on September 2, 2013

in Running


You guys have given me some great advice and even better encouragement to get here, to the official start of the “$hit just got real” phase of marathon training. We are now all about the double-digits.

Training week 10. Double-digit distances every other weekend from here out, including an 11-miler on Saturday. Max high of only 99 today. And at this rate, I’ll be running outside again in October. The 10th month. It’s all one big party of happy-ish coincidences.

And then there are the triple digits: 100 miles in 2 months. Also, I did an activity for 140 minutes that didn’t involve beer, a couch, a TV, and me yelling at a referee like he can hear my colorful commentary on his performance.

And quadruple digits: check out the calories you burn when jogging for 2+ hours!


In addition to my #1 goal – to cross the finish line of the Disney World marathon in January at least 67% conscious – I’m currently working on figuring out the ins & outs of running nutrition and diet. Because after burning 15,000+ calories in 2 months, I shouldn’t be 6lbs heavier than when I started. womp womp wommmmmp

After running anything more than 3 miles, I just really want a big, greasy bacon cheeseburger – hold the fries (who needs ‘em, anyway). IT IS ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT. I just burned 1500 calories, why shouldn’t I get one?

And that leads me to my newest project: I’m reading a couple of books right now (New Rules now, Racing Weight next) and logging my daily calorie intake into SparkPeople.


And if you’re looking for a totally rude awakening, log your calorie intake from a weekend that included a birthday party and a fantasy draft pool party… then convert that into the number of miles you’d need to run to offset all of it.

And then refill your Rx for anti-anxiety meds. Because you’ll need them.




Asics Women's Gel Nimbus 15

That foot pain I had a couple weeks ago? I didn’t experience it this week. And I bet you can already guess why.

New kicks!

They are completely fantastic. My feet feel like I’m running on sparkly fairy- and butterfly- and tequila-filled clouds.

The rest of my body? Just feels like I’m running tequila-filled.

I limped into my local running store and had them give me & my shoes a once-over. You never realize how bad your old shoes are until you lace up a new pair. As I was running around the store, I felt like I could bounce out of the shoes with every magical step.

And then I laced up my old shoes just to compare – thwack splat thwack! It was like I had laced up snow shoes over 2x4s.


My big run this week happened inside. Because 99F with a feels-like of 104F is just no fun. And it’s definitely no Chicago, where I was blessed to be able to run outside at 72 degrees. I don’t know what kind of immoral things I have to promise and to whom… but I really would like to get that kind of weather in Houston in July. (Just putting that out there, weather gods.)

But’ I’m also at that stage where I have hit the top part of my ability. And somehow, I’m going to have to add an extra mile onto the brutal 6 I ran this weekend. I don’t know how it’s going to happen because I was beyond running on empty when I finished.

Should I be drinking Gatorade while running? Using one of those gooey things? Praying harder?

Stay tuned for Week 6, when – fingers-crossed – Jason doesn’t have to come on here and write my eulogy.