Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Running:Training has begun for the Phoenix marathon

After the debacle of Chicago, I am gearing up for Marathon No. Nine, my 4th running of the Phoenix marathon. This is a Rock'n'Roll race, meaning that there are live bands performing all along the course. Well, not really all along, but at predetermined places, which gives you a good excuse to slow down and allow the furious heartbeats to calm a bit under the guise of enjoying the musicians. Usually the amplifiers are set at top volume, which is painful to my ears (I never did attend a rock concert and have not developed any sort of immunity against the deafening blasts), so I don't often take advantage of this opportunity to rest somewhat. Occasionally I will slow down when I'm safely out of ear-shattering-shot and adjust my pacing to the rhythm of the band. I remember a few years ago (2005) at one point late in the last few miles of the race Indians were chanting and drumming. Eerie and enchanting! At this point in any marathon (I think it was beyond mile 20) most runners are not as chatty as they were in the first 3 miles, but still here you felt the sudden hush and reverence as we passed the (non-amplified) chants of the First Americans.

Anyway, Phoenix is my favorite marathon destination so far. Maybe not because of Phoenix proper--not a bad city per se, but nothing special and lots of crawl and sprawl--but the surrounding areas, i.e., the rest of Arizona---good God, it is just plum (plumb?) gorgeous! So it is with images of Southwestern splendor that I must gird my resolve and keep up the training, pretty much on my own, through the next 3 months in the gray, cold, precipitating weather of Washingtonia. Putting this up for all to see is just another motivating trick to keep me in line.
  • Joined a gym (FemFit) to have access to cross-training (cycling) and a treadmill for speedwork. No excuses based on the weather.
  • Re-joined mcrrc, the local running club, to keep me in the loop.
  • Set up my calendar of workouts, following the FIRST (Furman Institute of Running & Scientific Training) marathon training program, which is based on 3 running workouts per week: long run, speed work, and tempo.

I'm at 10 miles for my long run as of this week. Next week: 11 or 12 miles, at perfect elevens. (That means 11 minutes per mile. Not blistering speed, but then... who wants blisters?) In previous years, I usually ran at 10:30 for the long runs. My advanced age and the stress fractures I suffered last year are to blame, I suppose. Note that the DLI (donor lymphocyte infusion--a 4-hour ordeal where all my blood was processed 3 times and jillions of WBCs were removed and given to La Vampirette) that took place a couple of weeks ago did not leave me worn out at all, as had the blood donation of a year ago. Go figure.

I'm also hoping to lose the last 5 pounds that are stubbornly hanging on. How to do that and still indulge my Dark (chocolate) side?