Very humid - the team even started at 6am - but it was still 67* and humid when we started and 80* with a heat index of 83* by the time I finished. Disappointed by my time, but trying to remember that this has to be the warmest 18 miler I’ve ever done. Ugh, I hate heat and humidity.
I had this great Ragnar moment a few weeks ago. I was doing a Ragnar-class “very hard”, no van support segment for over 8 miles - basically my team would be penalized for stopping and crossing the road or offering any kind of water or food - of this incredibly challenging terrain and quite honestly wasn’t sure how it would go. Blacktop, no shelter from the sun, zero cloud cover, hilly, mid-afternoon with a heat index of 90*. About four miles in, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I started yo-yoing with my run/walk intervals by this incredibly fit guy. “Ugh,” I said, “this is going to be an awful run.” He shook his head. “No, just tough.” Touche. Tough runs don’t have to be bad runs. Just difficult. No shame in struggling with something that’s hard. I wonder if other runners know how much these little exchanges help me finish what I wasn’t sure I could do in the first place?
During the run today, the weather was so gross I could actually feel sweat rolling down my knees. For the first time ever, I was so sweaty that on the drive home I soaked the driver’s seat. My guy had to request a towel to cover it when he had to use the car for errands. Running is soooo sexy. And dignified.
On the bright side: some super speedy dude complimented me on my pace this morning! In retrospect, of course, I was going too fast. But I’ll take it!
Marathon in less than four weeks. Starting to panic…!!!
Forecasted low: 56*
Current temp at 6:44a - 70*
Soooo unless the temperature rose 15* in the 90 minutes… shady stuff, Weather Channel. Shady stuff. (Hourly forecast says it’s not supposed to get to 56* until tomorrow (Fri Aug 23) morning at 5am.)
Current BMI: 24.82
July 26 BMI: 25.25
Weight change: -2.6lbs
Change from SW: -38 lbs
Change from HW: -45.5 lbs
Not getting too excited about this until it prevails for a couple of weeks. We did hills last night in 85* weather and I’m not sure I’m completely rehydrated, so could be just water weight. We’ll see…
Scale told me a weight three pounds less than this about four times before it finally coughed up this number. Sneaky, sneaky…
Holy hell. I thought I was doing a relatively good job of posting my weekly weigh ins, only to find my last one was… in May. Oopsies.
Well, gotta start somewhere!
Current BMI: 25.25
May 2013 BMI: 25.36
Weight change: -0.6 lbs
Change from SW: -35.4 lbs
Change from HW: -42.9 lbs
Most runners will record significantly faster times when they take walk breaks because they don’t slow down at the end of a long run. Thousands of time-goal-oriented veterans have improved by 10, 20, 30 minutes and more in marathons by taking walk breaks early and often in their goal races. You can easily spot these folks. They’re the ones who are picking up speed during the last two to six miles when everyone else is slowing down.
The mental benefit: breaking 26 miles into segments, which you know you can do Even sub-three hour marathoners continue to take their walk breaks to the end. One of them explained it this way: “Instead of thinking at 20 miles I had six more gut-wretching miles to go, I was saying to myself one more mile until my break.’ Even when it was tough, I always felt I could go one more mile.
Walk breaks in the marathon: how long and how often?
The following is recommended until 18 miles in the marathon. After that point, walk breaks can be reduced or eliminated as desired.
First time marathoners should follow the ratios used in training as long as they haven’t slowed down significantly at the end of the long ones. If you struggled during the last few miles take walk breaks more often from the beginning. A minimum suggestion for first time marathoners would be one minute of walking for every 3-4 minutes of running.
Here are my recommended ratios of running and walking, based upon your pace per mile.
Remember that long runs should be run at least 2 min/mi slower than your projected finish pace in the marathon. An additional slowdown should be made for increased temperature: 30 sec per mile
slower for each 5 degrees of temperature increase above 60F. It is always safer to walk more often.
Run-walk-run ratio should correspond to the training pace used:
8 min/mi—run 4 min/walk 35 seconds
9 min/mi— 4 min run-1 min walk
14 min/mi—30 sec run/30 sec walk
15 min/mi—30 sec/45 sec
16 min/mi—30 sec/60 sec
Why do walk breaks work?
By using muscles in different ways from the beginning, your legs keep their bounce as they conserve resources. When a muscle group, such as your calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. The weak areas get overused and force you to slow down later or scream at you in pain afterward. By shifting back and forth between walking and running muscles, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles, increasing your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not.
Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. The early walk breaks erase fatigue, and the later walk breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse muscle breakdown.
The earlier you take the walk breaks, the more they help you!
To receive maximum benefit, you must start the walk breaks before you feel any fatigue, in the first mile. If you wait until you feel the need for a walk break, you’ve already reduced your potential performance.
How fast should the walk break be?
When you walk fast for a minute, most runners will lose about 15 seconds over running at their regular pace. But if you walk slowly, you’ll have lost only about 20 seconds.
Once we find the ideal ratio for a given distance, walk breaks allow us to feel strong to the end and recover fast, while bestowing the same stamina and conditioning we would have received if we had run continuously.
Don’t get too rigidly locked into a specific ratio of walk breaks, adjust as needed.
Even if you run the same distance every day, you’ll find that you’ll need to vary the walk break frequency to adjust for speed, hills, heat, humidity, time off from training, etc. If you anticipate that your run will be more difficult or will produce a longer recovery, take more frequent walk breaks (or longer walks) and you may be surprised at how quickly you recover.
Do I need to take the walk breaks on the short runs during the week?
If you can run continuously now on shorter runs, you don’t have to take the walk breaks. If you want to take them, do so. Walk breaks on midweek runs will insure that you recover from the long ones at the fastest pace.
Current BMI: 25.36
Oct. 17, 2012 BMI: 24.99
Weight change: +2.8 lbs
Change from SW: -34.8 lbs
Change from HW: -42.3 lbs
Too much eating out. Crazy work hours over the last four months. Should die down. Glad the damage isn’t worse. And very happy to be able to run again. Goal: one “splurge” meal per week.
Colleague Alison and I after the Lager Lauf in New Ulm.
Yesterday, I ran the Schell’s Brewery Lager Lauf 12k race - 7.45ish miles, average pace 10:11, something like a 1:13 time. Not gonna lie - it was tough. The course had several major hills - and I’m talking Ragnar-esque hills. No joke. The race didn’t even start until 10:30a, and the temps were already around 73*, plus high humidity. The course itself was rather unshaded and the sun was out for most of it. Plus, I’m still recovering from a knee-ish injury and I’m just out of shape, period.
On the plus side, though, I’d say the race organizers did a great job - plenty of water for runners, lots of aid stations, beer if you wanted it at water stations (ugh, not me), and a free beer at the end! I have to say, the cold orange wedges at the end never tasted so good. Lots of participants, but not overcrowded. I registered early enough to get a technical shirt, but medals only went to folks who placed (got to admit, I was a bit bummed by that - I want a Schell’s beer opener medal!!) Tons of fun - the brewery was decked out in ribbons, and I couldn’t believe it was only the second annual race, the logistics ran so smoothly.
The race was preceded by lively commentary from the brewery president (quite hilarious, actually) and started with a cannon shot (!??!!). The race course went through the streets of New Ulm, MN population 13,000.
This bus was parked near the parking area - we passed it walking to the starting line:
Schell’s is a family brewery based in New Ulm. Schell’s focuses on traditional German-style beers, including many lagers. It seems like a lot of the macrobrews are based on crappy lagers, and I assumed I just didn’t like the style. But I think it’s just the quality of the product, because I generally enjoy bocks (though apparently weizenbocks are ales??), and I am finding I like pilsners, for example. We were able to meet up with members of Barley’s Angels, a women’s craft beer appreciation group, before and after the race. Running and beer - my two favorite things!
The grounds were absolutely beautiful. There’s a lovely garden:
And the Schell’s mansion, available for the current president to live in (he currently doesn’t.)
Peacocks roam freely on the property. Apparently some time ago a relative (aunt? sister?) of the family died and had peacocks. Nobody knew what to do with them, so they just brought them to the brewery, and successive generations are around today. The birds are outside full time; on the coldest winter nights, they roost in the trees. They were remarkably tame and tolerant of people taking pictures.
We took the brewery tour afterwards. Fascinating history - the brewery almost went under three times. The first was during the Dakota uprising around 1862, but apparently the family had a history of good relations with the Dakota and the family returned to find the brewery almost entirely intact. The second, of course, was prohibition, when the brewery sold candy, 1919 Rootbeer, and bootlegged (shocker.) Finally, in 1969, the introduction of light beer by macrobrewers nearly drove Schell’s (and did drive many other brewers) out of business. Schell’s developed a light beer recipe itself to survive, and the legend is that to make payroll in the early 1970s, the brewery resorted to selling lumber from giant black walnut trees on its grounds.
A lovely experience, overall, and one I plan to repeat!
Guys… thanks for being you. I feel the need to reach out to someone who understands how incredibly personal today’s events feel, and I go to my Tumblr dash, and… you all are already there. Way ahead of me. You all rock.
Reminded of “The West Wing” - people ran toward the blast to help the injured.