I ran 15 miles this morning, so that’s a wrap for marathon training 2016!
The theme song of this year has to be this little diddy, as I think I ran maybe three long runs where I didn’t get dumped on. That’s Spring for you, I guess.
(My hair was an impossible rat’s nest after an 18-miler in torrential rain.)
Overall, it was a good season. Despite the less than stellar weather conditions, I was fairly happy with my long runs and I’ve mostly kept injuries at bay.
The best part about training for a Spring marathon is watching the park come alive. It’s fun to conclude the season with green grass, blossoming trees and colorful flowers, when it started what feels like ages ago in the dead of winter.
(Trying to motivate myself with Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass on a cold, snowy, long run.)
(BUT Forest Park is a beauteous place right now!)
(A few more scenes from the running path, because this truly has been a lovely Spring.)
To sum up marathon training 2016, I’d like to pay tribute to some of the handy people, places and things that have really helped me along through these last few months.
Maybe a few of you runners out there might find this little list useful. Without further ado…
The Heroes of Marathon Training 2016:
1. The Forest Park Visitor’s Center
The Forest Park Visitor’s Center is, oh how do I say this, AWESOME. You might know the place as an excellent wedding reception venue, or perhaps the spot to meet your Segway tour of the Park, but did you know that Mon-Fri it is open 6am-8pm daily and it is there for the use of runners’ and other park goers’ convenience??!?! That’s right, you need a clean, flushable toilet? Visitor’s Center. A drink from a clean, cold water fountain? Visitor’s Center! An air conditioned or heated (depending on the season) place to stretch post run? Visitor’s Center!!! I’ll tell you, on many a chilly, wet, rainy run, this place has beckoned itself before me like a dry, pleasant oasis…with fully functioning bathrooms to boot!
2. My Garmin Watch
(This is a huge picture of a watch. Mine looks like this, and it’s about that big too. I’ve heard the kids are getting much cooler and sleeker versions nowadays though…)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I don’t know how anyone trains for a marathon without a Garmin watch. Mine is a gargantuan, green beauty and I’ve had it for NINE YEARS! Seriously! I got it pre-little maps on your phone that show you where you are at all times era. Pre-Smartphone era, really! So, I remember being amazed that it could tell me how many miles I’d run. It also tells me things like, the time, pace, calories burned, sunrise/sunset, average pace, and on and on. And even after almost a decade of use it still functions really well. This year, one of the straps broke, but it turns out you can just order a replacement online for like $12! Good as new and ready for Boston!
3. Fall Out Boy Remixes
I wouldn’t say I’m a big Fall Out Boy fan or anything, but for some reason these two songs have been my go to this year. I can’t say what it is about them, but I’m not gonna question something that really helps to push me through mile 20…
4. Stretch U
I stumbled upon this one by way of a lucky Groupon back in January. The Groupon advertised it as a place that would, well, stretch you, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. My biggest trial in marathon training has always been tight IT bands, so I was determined to stay on top of stretching and foam rolling this year so that my knees wouldn’t succumb to the same old pain. Basically, if you go to Stretch U you pay someone to stretch you and roll you out for 30 minutes at $15 a pop. Is it fun? No, I hate stretching. But my IT bands are in better shape now than they’ve ever been at this point in marathon training, so something seems to be working here. I bought an 8 week package and even plan to use some to recover after the race! BONUS: There’s a running store right next door to this place, so I always stock up on gels, beans and Runner’s World after my session.
5. My Old School Headphones
(These are the headphones I wear on every run. No, I’m not cool.)
First of all, let me just say I know real runners don’t listen to music or wear headphones when they run, but I’m actually a field hockey player in disguise, that is, I’m not a real runner, so I don’t care.
My headphones are stupid looking. I know this. They’re big and they hook over my ears with a band that wraps around the back of my neck like dental head gear. But seriously, I love them. I have worn this style of headphones since my first marathon in 2010. When that first pair deteriorated 5 years later, I bought another two pairs on Amazon because I was afraid Sony would stop making them. Why do I love them so much? Because I hate earbuds. They hurt my ears, and after three hours of running they really hurt my ears and the sound quality sucks. I know, I know, you’ll want to tell me Try Yurbuds, or Whosebuds, or Whatthebuds…but I don’t care. They all suck. You get no bass, ya’ll! And one cannot listen to Ruff Ryder’s Anthem without bass!
So, there you have it! A few of my favorite running related things.
Now it’s just time to taper and chug the tart cherry juice. T-minus one week until I leave for Boston!
I’m excited and ready to run bold!
Good luck to all the runners in the GO! this weekend!