130 Laps.

As an athlete (even a recreational one) it’s such a great feeling when your training and nutrition finally comes together and WORKS.   In our crazy endurance & fitness culture, be it running, OCR, triathlon, CrossFit, you name it…it’s all too common to have something ailing us.   Plantar fasciitis, a tweaked rotator cuff, a cold from overtraining,  poor nutrition because your work or the kids schedule was becomes crazy, burnout, and so on.   It’s fascinating that in the pursuit to make ourselves healthier, we tend to go overboard and essentially beat our bodies up instead of making them stronger.  But I digress. When you are one of these crazy athletes, and you have a good week where all of the training/nutrition/sleep/timing stars align… it feels AMAZING.

Last week was nearly a perfect training week for me.  Other than one sleepless night, most likely due to unrelated stress, my training, nutrition, and rest were spot on.  As a result, I have felt full of energy, made some gains in the weight room, and had a near effortless long run of ten miles…ON the treadmill.    I never thought I would utter the words “effortless long run” and “treadmill” in the same sentence, but I swear in front of the running gods that it actually happened.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attack the treadmill before the masses took on the gym for the day, and thus entertained myself by shamefully watching E! entertainment television.  We don’t watch TV in my house, so this sort of spectacle is, well, mind numbing.  Which makes the act of running for more than 30 minutes on a treadmill bearable.  And treadmill haters (I heard them referred to as “Satan’s Sidewalk” this week, hilarious), let’s not discredit the amazing feature of having a bathroom nearby anytime you need it.   I could get used to this treadmill stuff.   Ok, not really, but it beats the heck out of the – 7 degree temps (yes, NEGATIVE) that Saturday morning provided us.

Regardless, 10 easy miles.  I tried to base zone two on how I was feeling and the ease of breathing, and was able to keep the run nice and slow.   If I keep this winter running streak up, I’ll bust out the heart rate monitor soon.   Absolutely zero delayed onset muscle soreness or other issues.

treadmill

I also wore the hydration pack on the treadmill, just as I said I would, and it worked out very well.  We have, shall we say, “older” model treadmills that don’t take into consideration the fact that you may have a water bottle or other long run accoutrements, thus there is no where to store them.  The hydration pack worked out perfectly, and I only had two confused “why are you running in a backpack?” inquiries.

Totals for last week:

  • 53,358 lbs lifted over 4 strength training sessions (still going light, hernia repair date is finally in sight) 
  • 17.5 miles run (all treadmill, thanks to negative temps and ice everywhere)
  • 5.64 elliptical miles
  • 1.34 stair stepper miles
  • 821 meters rowed (it was one warmup session before back day.  But it counts none the less.)

So what do I have in store next?   Well, I’m glad you asked.  I’m going to throw my excellent progression out the window and do something stupid this weekend.

I’m running an indoor marathon.

Let’s backup a bit. YEARS ago I read about an indoor marathon somewhere in the Midwest (I think).  I thought to myself “that is so absolutely ridiculous and likely painful…I want to do it sometime.”   I’m not sure I actually wrote it in on the bucket list, but rest assured, an indoor marathon was on it.  Fast forward to this November,  a facebook friend posted that he had signed up to be on the waitlist of a local indoor marathon.  What!  I didn’t know such a thing existed around here.  So I put my name on the waitlist as well, thinking chances were pretty low that I’d actually make  to the top of the list.

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Surprise!  I found out Saturday  morning that I did make it to the top of the list.  And there is no way I’m missing out on this opportunity.   So this coming Saturday morning I will be tackling the “Arena Attack” marathon, 130 laps around the inside of the XL Center in Hartford, CT.   I can’t decide if this is the worst way to run a marathon, or a genius idea.  Every 0.20 miles is an aide station.  None of that “I swear the race guide said there was a water stop at 13.5 miles, WHERE IS THE WATER STOP?” or “I reaaaalllly hope this next aide station has a port-a-potty”  guessing games and uncertainty.  And speaking of uncertainty, how about the weather?  Why, dry and calling for shorts and a tank top of course, because we are running in the climate controlled indoors.   And I know when I’ll see my family cheering me on: every 0.20 miles!  (Though Geoff did ask if he HAS to cheer, take a picture, and acknowledge me every two minutes, or if he is allowed to read or something…heh heh).  Really, all of these “pros” certainly outweigh the “cons” of running in circles for hours.

My goal is to hover between 1:50-2:00 per lap, which should put me in the 4:10:00-4:20:00 finish time.   But who knows what the day (or the fact that I didn’t train for this race and I’m certain my legs will start SCREAMING at me around mile 18) will bring.  Ultimately, my only goal is to beat the 5 hour cutoff, which I’m relatively confident I can do.  Confident, but not certain.  But confidence is half the battle.  Training might be the other half, but I digress.   I’m incredibly excited for this experience!

Also, we can pretty much forget that “9 week marathon experiment.”  We’re going for 5 days.

So to bring this post full circle, my plans this week include a few light cardio sessions, regular upper body sessions, a light leg day, and a full day of rest on Friday.   Eating will consist of healthy but hearty meals, allowing a gradual build up of muscle glycogen stores (as opposed to the night before the marathon carb loading pasta feast extravaganza that never actually works).  Hydration, hydration, hydration and plenty of sleep (here’s hoping.)

Speaking of nutrition, I managed to cook twice more this week and not give anyone in my family food poisoning, though in full disclosure, I did set off the smoke detector by burning some asparagus.  The highlight of the week was a not so healthy (but better than the fried meat alternative) but amazingly delicious buffalo cauliflower.  Make this recipe , you won’t regret it.   Now for your blurry Heather’s not-so-smart-phone picture:

buffalo cauliflower

So that was my week in review, and my plans for the week ahead.   I’ve been in a sharing mood lately.  I’m sorry or you’re welcome, either way!

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Anyone ever run an indoor marathon?  Have any advice for me?

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Comments

  1. alisamarie says

    Wow, congrats on all of the successes Heather! And 53K lbs in a week is light? I better get my game on! I’ve never heard of an indoor marathon – sounds climate-controlled – nice!

  2. David says

    I’ve run lots of indoor track in my day. A few things…

    1.) Bring Chapstick. Indoors is dry and your lips will chap quickly
    2.) Drink more liquid (if you can) than you’d normally do because of the dry air. Indoors will dry out your throat and lungs quicker.
    3.) Periodic stretching. That many laps may put some stress on one knee, one hip, and one side of your core if you can’t switch directions. Stretch if you can.
    4.) For me, perfectly flat courses (and treadmills) are more fatiguing than rolling hills. It’ll be the same muscle group…all the time. If there are steps or handicap ramps anywhere, take them periodically.
    5.) Have fun!

  3. says

    Rock on! I can’t wait to hear about this! I don’t think I’d be able to handle the unchanging scenery! That’s my problem with the treadmill too. It was pouring rain yesterday, but I HAVE to run outside…so I did. 6.40 soggy wet miles of goodness!

  4. says

    Hi Heather! First of all, great work on last week’s training. Second of all, that’s pretty cool you keep track of weight lifted like that. Third of all, I’d be worried about your ankles if you are going the same direction during the laps. You know? Like you might have a slight lean in during the indoor marathon? Maybe not! I’ve never heard of one before, and I hope you rock it! :)

  5. says

    OMG amazing!! There’s an indoor triathlon series here that I’ve always wanted to sign up for. Last winter, I ran 12 miles on the treadmill something I never ever thought would happen but the conditions forced me inside for my long run. It made me feel so much stronger mentally having gotten through that! Good luck and have fun!

  6. says

    I’ve never run an indoor marathon but have run the Marathon Around the Lake which is 8-9 laps around a lake. I actually loved it because once you ran the course you knew what to expect. This race sounds intriguing and something psychotic I might sign up for! Good luck and I can’t wait to read your race report. Most importantly, have “fun” LOL

  7. says

    Ten miles on the treadmill is a huge accomplishment! I have run 8 and another time ran 6 in the morning and give in the afternoon to get in 11…but that has been my max. I agree though, between the bathroom and the warmth, I have learned to embrace my treadmill.

  8. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says

    I have never run an indoor marathon, but I’m anticipating a very long LONG run on the treadmill this winter. I had a great relationship with the treadmill last winter, but not enjoying it as much this year, kind of bummed about that!

    • says

      They use timing chips, and apparently there is a huge screen that tells you your laps as you pass by! There are only 20 people who run the marathon, then I’m sure probably just as many (if not a few more) between the relay and the half marathon crowd. So it’s not like they have thousands of runners to keep track of. I’ll be sure to take video and pictures to share with you guys of the timing system!

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