A Race Week – Boston Marathon Training Week 14

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Megan and me pre-race. It was cold before the start. I bought this shirt in honor of those who were marching last Saturday…maybe the cotton cause the chaffing at my bra strap…

Just three weeks until the Boston Marathon! It’s hard to believe that I was vacationing in Boston at this time three years ago. I was inspired by all the Boston Marathon stuff we were seeing. It was everywhere. Although I wanted to someday come back and run this prestigious race, it was a very remote possibility. Six months earlier I’d run my first marathon in 5:51:02. I’d need to shave lots of time off that effort! Two years later I qualified with at 4:04:49. (That’s a goal!)

It’s hard to believe that the race is here!

Last week’s training included a half marathon, The Great Race, Pacific Half. All I can say about this race is that it was HARD! I thought I’d do better and I have mixed feelings about the race (comments are in my training log below). Now that I’ve had a few days to

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More up than down in this race

think about it, I’m a bit happier with the effort. I did think that all the hills I’ve been running in training would have helped me more. But then maybe they did as I was able to finish 5 of 82 in my age group.

One very cool part of Saturday’s race is that I’ve been coaching a member of my church towards her first half marathon. She’d run previously, re-started last summer, and learned very quickly that you cannot just pick up where you left off. With her hard work and my guidance, she was able to complete this race…and it was harder than intended because she’d signed up for an easier trail run that had been cancelled due to weather.

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Cute bra…won’t be wearing it in Boston!

A few weeks I wrote about the importance of rehearsal, including working out in race day clothing. Saturday I raced in a fairly new bra. I’d done some long runs in it…even my last 18 mile run. But I still chaffed…right were the straps cross over my clavicle (I felt it with about a mile to go…both sides). I will now choose another bra for the marathon and I’m thankful that I had this issue in a shorter race. (Rehearsal – Boston Marathon Training, Week 11)

Here’s my training log for the last week:

Nancy Switzler
Workouts: 3/18/2018 – 3/24/2018
 Sunday, March 18, 2018
6:05 PM Strength Training
Completed: 38:43
Workout Comments:

Dicharry-Vertical Force. The heart rate spike is the burpees I had to do in the middle 😬
1:19 PM Walk  2.43 mi ~ 45:00 (18:31 min/mi)
Monday, March 19, 2018
1:58 PM Run – Easy Run
Planned: 8 mi
Completed: 8 mi ~ 1:20:07 (10:00 min/mi)
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Strength Training
5:11 AM Good

Run – Easy Run

Planned: 5 mi
Completed: 6.2 mi ~ 1:01:59 (9:59 min/mi)
Workout Comments:

3/20/2018 7:43 AM

Track today instead of tomorrow. Total run felt good, but while I was running my cool down I thought the workout seemed shorter than usual. That’s when I realized I forgot to do the strides. Whoops 😬

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
2:41 PM Run – Track Workout
Half Marathon Tune Up
Planned: 6.3 mi
2 Miles Easy; 6 Strides; 2 Miles @ 1/2 Marathon Pace. 3:00 Rest; 2 x 800 meters @ 5K Pace. 2:00 Rest; 1 Mile cooldown
Completed: 5 mi ~ 50:25 (10:04 min/mi)
3:50 PM Strength Training, Stretching and mobility
Completed: 1:04:20
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Strength Training – Yoga
Friday, March 23, 2018
7:44 AM

Run – Easy Run

Planned: 5 mi
Completed: 5 mi ~ 48:49 (9:45 min/mi)
Saturday, March 24, 2018
6:46 AM

Run – Easy Run

Planned: 1 mi
Completed: 1 mi ~ 10:50 (10:50 min/mi)
Run – Hills & Strides

Strides X 4  Missed the strides!
To Be Completed right after you finish your run.
* Strides are medium-hard to hard efforts roughly 20 seconds each or 100 meters long (a straightaway in a track) where you focus on quick turnover. They are a harder effort but not all out sprints.
Take roughly 45 seconds rest between each stride (rest can be walking around or a very light jog.)
7:43 AM

Good

Run – Race

Great Race – Pacific Half
Planned: 13.1 mi
Completed: 13.24 mi ~ 2:06:52 (9:35 min/mi)
Workout Comments:

3/24/2018 2:45 PM

Nancy Switzler
I have very mixed feelings about this race. I had hoped I would do better, especially as I’ve been doing so much hill training. I think I could have dug a bit deeper the last three miles.
I’m wondering how much anxiety may have affected me. Just as we were starting I missed a call from our preschool director. That was odd and I thought maybe something was happening at the church/school. Then while going up the big hill I got notification of a missed call from an unidentified number. Then our youth minster. At the bottom of the hill I got notification of a missed call from our secretary. Did the church burn down?
I almost stopped when I was running past the starting area, but decided that I wouldn’t be able to leave anyway (and strand my family) so I kept going and called at the finish.
This should have made me run faster but instead the dread made running harder. When I finished I called and learned that our preschool director’s son, who joined the Marines last week, was in ICU in San Diego. Stopping would not have changed anything but I wish a fire had been the actual emergency.
After the race it was great to see friends. I also was able to walk back the last half mile of the race and find my church member who I’d been coaching. Megan and I ran her in…my first experience coaching someone from not running to completing a very hard course!
As we left we checked the results and I was 5 of 82, meeting a goal.

One more comment: I wore the new Launch 5 without any orthoditcs. My foot felt fine…maybe a bit tender at 12 but then it went away and no pain post race. So think my foot is like 98% healed 😊. I’m wondering if I should take the orthotic out of my Sauconey Ride
Very much a mixed day!
Totals
Completed Strength Training: 1:43:04
Completed Walk: 2.43 mi ~ 45:00
Planned Run: 38.40 mi // Completed Run: 38.45 mi ~ 6:19:06

We Shall…

This does not make America great

GirlRevRunning

Someone made signs for us to hold. You can see the places where the raindrops hit the sign. I think of the spots as God’s tears.

I started my day today joining other pastors and community members at our local ICE office. The office is located in a nondescript strip mall in Camarillo. There is no room for anyone to gather inside the office, so we gathered outside, in the rain.

We shall overcome…

Our gathering was not one of silence, but of prayer and song. From many backgrounds, some religious, some not, we were the church in the world as we sang (songs of faith and songs borrowed from the civil rights movement), we read scripture, and we prayed.

Why were we there? Because the stories that we see in the news each day…stories of regular people being deported…are not stories of strangers. They are not stories of people…

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This was in regards pastors in my neighborhood who were deported. Now it’s happening to a pastor in my denomination so I share again. We Shall…

Someone made signs for us to hold. You can see the places where the raindrops hit the sign. I think of the spots as God’s tears.

I started my day today joining other pastors and community members at our local ICE office. The office is located in a nondescript strip mall in Camarillo. There is no room for anyone to gather inside the office, so we gathered outside, in the rain.

We shall overcome…

Our gathering was not one of silence, but of prayer and song. From many backgrounds, some religious, some not, we were the church in the world as we sang (songs of faith and songs borrowed from the civil rights movement), we read scripture, and we prayed.

Why were we there? Because the stories that we see in the news each day…stories of regular people being deported…are not stories of strangers. They are not stories of people that we don’t know. They are stories of our neighbors. We may think we don’t know anyone affected or possibly affected, be if we know our neighbors, then we know someone affected.

Today the neighbors we were supporting were a couple who serve as pastors in a church here in Oxnard. I cannot at this time share their names or the name of their church, but I can share their story:

My neighbors, our neighbors, came to the United States 24 years ago. Four years later they tried to legalize their status, but had very poor legal representation. Tragically this effort resulted in a deportation order. They’ve been fighting that for the last 20 years.

As part of that fight, they’ve been allowed to obtain a “stay of removal.” When you get one of these you can also obtain a work permit (for an extra fee of course!). Our neighbors have been doing this for many years. They usually receive stays that last a year. Until recently. In October 2017, their “stay of removal” was for only 3 months (same cost for stay and work permit however). In January they were told they would get no more stays and would have to leave the country in March.

When they (with their lawyer) went to a meeting at the local ICE office to try and get another stay about 20 people went with them. Some were church members, some were community members and some were pastors from various churches. The support group stayed outside, but gathered to pray and sing. ICE responded in two ways. First, officers showed up in riot gear. Second, they told the couple to come back in two weeks. I was not present this day.

We shall overcome…someday

Today, March 21, 2018, this couple, pastors who serve a church in Oxnard, pillars of the community, returned to the ICE office. Today the government refused to give them another stay. They have been ordered to leave April 6th. They have been ordered to leave their son and his wife. They have been ordered to leave their grandchildren. They have been ordered to leave their church.

I cannot imagine how they are feeling right now. I am angry. I am sad. I am embarrassed. I am ashamed. As all these feeling swirl around in my head, I can’t help asking,

How does deporting our neighbors make America great?

The other thoughts that swirl are the recognition that so much is wrong right now in our country. There is so much to protest. There is so much to resist. And among all this that needs the resisting is the shame that white Christians are largely responsible for electing this government. As a pastor I continue to struggle with this reality. (Quit when it’s hard? No Way!)

Deep in my heart, I do believe…

But I also know that my call from God is not a call to stand on the sidelines. It is not a call to stay silent. As I write this, I don’t know what I can do for this couple or for any of the others who are being torn from their homes. Alone I can do nothing. But I am not alone. Thankfully my neighbors are not alone either. We are right now trying to think of other ways we can help. I know that as we all work together we can defeat the meanness, vindictiveness, and evil that has ripped families apart. We will overcome.

We will overcome someday.

Let’s make that day today. Please get off the sidelines and make your voice heard.

We shall overcome,
We shall overcome,
We shall overcome, some day.
Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day.

The Trouble With the Mini Out & Back – Boston Marathon Training, Week 13

The sky was beautiful at the start, but I was heading towards those clouds off to the right.

 

It was looking a bit ominous at mile 7.5
Mile 9.5 – thankfully the rain held off until I finished

The simple out and back is the easiest run. You just go to the halfway point and turn around. But what about the mini out and back that is part of a longer run? Or the double out and back? For most people this is no big deal. For me? Well I seem to be a bit mathematically challenged when it come to accurately calculating the proper distance.

 

Sometimes this necessitates a short little addition to your run when you arrive a what was to be “the end.” Other times it means you arrive at your goal distance but you are nowhere near the end of your run. This is what happened to me on my long run this week.

I had actually mapped out a course. One that started at a higher elevation than it would end, included lots of hills, but with more down than up (thankfully my husband was kind enough to drop me off). The route I mapped out was exactly 18 miles. Perfect!

But mid run, because of traffic, I decided to detour to a bike trail. So I had to make some quick calculations to re-route myself to my car. So here was my calculation: I left the bike trail approximately a half a mile from my car and I was at 14.75 miles, thus needing 3.25 to complete the run. I calculated that if I headed away for a mini out and back I should go 1.6 miles and I should get close to my goal. HaHa! As I write this I realize one mistake…the decision to turn around at 16.6. That added a bit! But it was worse than that… when I hit 18 miles I wasn’t close. Damn! I made it to my car at 18.9, but then I had to jog around for a tenth of a mile because who stops at 18.9?

The good news is that my 19 mile run felt great.

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Was this helpful? No, but it was pretty funny.

Another fun thing? My Garmin thinks I’ve been climbing stairs, and sent me a notification to say that I should go up stairs as well as down them. Funny!

Here’s my training log for the past week. http://Final Surge Training

Less than a month until race day! This week I’ll be running a fitness assessing half marathon. I haven’t raced yet this year so I’m looking forward to it.

Happy training.

Weak Links – Boston Marathon Training, Week 12

Last week I bought a new pair of running shoes, Brooks Launch. I may wear these in the Boston Marathon. I may wear my Saucony Ride. I have about 5 weeks to decide which pair. Five weeks of alternating between these two pairs of shoes. Five weeks until Boston!

After I brought my new shoes home last week I looked at the wear patterns on my last two pairs of shoes and was pleasantly surprise. Why? Here’s the back story.

I wouldn’t call myself an injury prone runner. But I did deal with a pulled hamstring a couple years ago and through this I discovered that my right side is far weaker than my left. I’ve also had a nerve issue with my right foot that pre-dates my running. I remember going to the doctor for shooting pain and he just blew off my concerns and told me to put a metatarsal pad in my shoe.

I did for awhile, but the pain eventually went away. Then, when I started running some serious mileage the shooting pain returned…but only when I was breaking in new shoes. Once they had a few runs in them the pain went away.

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This photo was taken last summer…just me with the dogs on my lap. But it also shoes how swollen my right foots was – around the second and third toes.

Eventually though my right foot began to get sore even after the shoes were broken in. I started putting metatarsal pads in my shoes (since that was what the doctor said so many years ago). This worked for awhile. But then my right foot started to look a bit deformed…and it was starting to hurt. Of course this was the foot that would accidentally step on a rock while on a run, sending shooting pain. Or did I just not notice stepping on rocks with my other foot? Who knows.

Then, two things happened last summer.

First: I listen to the Final Surge podcast and they said they were gaining to be interviewing a podiatrist. Did anyone have any questions? I sent them as brief a backstory as I could along with the question of “what’s could the problem be?” They actually used my question, but because I’d written it so poorly, I didn’t actually get a clear answer. But I did get some helpful information. I even began listening to the podiatrist’s podcast as well, “Doc On the Run” by Dr. Christopher Segler. I’ve learned a lot about injuries and recovery.

Second: one of my co-workers told me that the chiropractor I referred her to was helping her with her plantar fasciitis. This chiropractor, Dr. Romeo Dimaano of Active Spine and Sports Care, successfully treated me for my previously pulled hamstring. I return to him occasionally for adjustments, but it had never occurred to me that he could help me with my foot.

So, off I went to see Dr. Romeo. I think he was a bit amazed at how stiff my foot was. I think I had so much accumulated inflammation that it was just one hard, painful, deformed, and ugly foot. He worked on it. Ouch! And worked on it. Ouch! And worked on it. After every treatment. “Does it feel better?” “Maybe a little was my reply.” I was also thinking that this injury was years in the making so it wasn’t going to go away overnight.

But just to be safe, he wanted me to see a podiatrist and also get an X-ray. I did and the podiatrist said that while my foot did not have any broken bones, it’s possible that I had a stress fracture that is now healed. He didn’t have much else to say, because by the time of my appointment, Dr. Romeo’s manipulations had started working. The swelling was down and there was little pain. The podiatrist suggested I put orthotics in my running shoes. I did, but I don’t want to keep using them.

So, I’ve continued to massage and exercise my feet. Since it’s probably no coincidence that the problem foot is on my right side and my weak leg is my right leg, I’ve embarked on (more) serious strength training. I’ve done lots of one legged work: squats, lunges (back leg elevated), bridges, jump rope, etc.

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That’s some major wear in the toe!

I think it paying off! So back to the shoes. The shoes that I wore in my Boston Qualifying Mountains 2 Beach Marathon (pre-treatment, and strength emphasis) are here. It’s obvious from the wear pattern in the toe that I was barely getting my foot off the ground. I surprised I was even running.

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Dirty shoes! But not nearly as worn out as the last pair. This is with 380 miles.

 

 

But look at the shoes that replaced those. These shoes have more miles on them and a much improved wear pattern on the toe. Yeah!

The lesson is to seek help more quickly. And if the first person you ask doesn’t really address your concerns, keep seeking help. Because the problem will not magically go away. I could add that there are some great podcasts out there for runners!

One last comment for the week. I talked to my coach about the training I missed from being sick and he’s optimistic. He said that if this were my first marathon, he’d be worried. But it’s not my first, it’s my eighth, and all that other marathon experience counts!

Just 5 more weeks!

Here’s my training for the last week:

Final Surge – Print Workouts

Rehearsal – Boston Marathon Training, Week 11

Six weeks until race day has me thinking of rehearsal. Do you rehearse?

What did you think of with this question? Getting ready for a music performance? A play? Rehearsing that tough conversation you know you have to have? Practicing ahead of time for some type of performance?

What about rehearsing for you next big race? In some ways training can be thought of as rehearsing, but there are some specifics. Boston is now in 6 weeks, which means it’s time to rehearse. Here are some tips.

New running bra and awesomely comfortable new shorts…I haven’t yet decided on my shirt.

1. Clothing. Do you know what you’re wearing on race day? If you’re 4-6 weeks out, it’s time to decide. Why so early? So you can start training in exactly what you plan to wear. For us ladies, that means your bra. For all of us it means running shirt, socks, shorts, hat, and anything else you plan to wear. This way you’ll avoid equipment struggles and unexpected (& painful) chafing. I know that some people like to run in their race shirts… I see them at every race. Don’t do this! You don’t know how that shirt will work out for you. Odds are that it will be fine. But if it’s not you’ll have a miserable race (and the longer the race, the more miserable). Save the shirt to put on as soon as you finish your race. Then you can proudly wear it (along with the medal you earned), and it’s nice and clean.

 

2. How many miles to you have on your shoes? How many miles to you plan to run between now and your goal race? Do the math and then if you need shoes, get them. You want to have time to transition into them. Don’t wear them for the first time on a long run…but you certainly need to wear them on a few long runs before race day.

Most of these are oh so sweet and that’s one reason why it’s necessary to get used to the flavor before race day.

3. Race day nutrition and fluids. You need to know two things: what are they serving on the course, and what is the frequency of the aid stations. If you don’t already know this then go to the race website and look it up. Are you experienced with the beverage? If not, buy some and start using it on your next long run. This allows you to get used to it and to even discover if it will work for you. I now have quite the collection of fluid products (it can get expensive so find someone to share with). This is incredibly important because you should never take in unfamiliar food or liquids during a race. It’s also important because you might discover that the particular product that will be on a course doesn’t work for you. This happened with my 4th marathon. Thankfully I was able to buy a sample of what they would be using. It didn’t work for me. It tasted sickly sweet and yet had no calories (you really need calories in a marathon). So I opted to change my plan with gel consumption for that particular race. It would have been a disaster if I hadn’t done my homework.

 

I also advise knowing the frequency of the aid stations. Some races have them every mile (like Boston) and you won’t need to stop every mile. Right now I’m doing my long runs with the intention of hitting the aid station every three miles. This is a bit farther than I’m used to…so I’m rehearsing it. I still have time to go down to every two miles if necessary. Some races, because of the course won’t have evenly spaced aid stations. It’s important to know this. This was the case at my BQ marathon. In my rehearsal I ate and drank according to their info. I even wrote the distances on my hand with a sharpie, which may be going a bit overboard.

4. Pre-race nutrition. The advice here is don’t change your diet on race week. My coach recommended this when I was stressing about all I’d previously read about carb loading. He told me to just eat as I usually eat and this has been great advice.

What do you usually do for your own race rehearsal?

Here’s my training plan for the past week.

Workouts: 2/25/2018 – 3/3/2018
Monday, February 26, 2018
2:02 PM 6 Miles Easy
Planned: 6 mi
Completed: 6 mi ~ 59:33 (9:55 min/mi)
Workout Comments: Today’s run felt very nice…as did Saturday morning. So I think I’m finally recovered.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
6:57 AM Strength & Mobility

Core & Strength Level 3
3 Sets of the following sequence with ~ 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise.
15 squats; 20 sec. plank; 10 push ups; 20 Crunches; 10 lunges on each leg; 20 sec. plank; 10 calf drops on each leg; 20 Sit-Ups Completed: 35:07

Run – Easy Run

Planned: 4 mi
Completed: 4.01 mi ~ 40:18 (10:03 min/mi)
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
5:24 AM Run – Track Workout
3 x 1-Mile @ 10K Pace
Planned: 6 mi
2 Miles Warm-up (Easy)
6 Strides
3 x 1-Mile @ 10K Pace w/ 2:00 Rest
1 Mile Cooldown (Easy)
Completed: 6.96 mi ~ 1:10:22 (10:06 min/mi)
Workout Comments: This workout felt very nice. I thought I was having trouble holding my pace on the third mile so was pleasantly surprised to see that it was my fastest mile by 2 seconds!
Thursday, March 1, 2018
6:07 AM Strength & Mobility

Core & Strength Level 3
3 Sets of the following sequence with ~ 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise.
15 squats; 20 sec. plank; 10 push ups; 20 Crunches; 10 lunges on each leg; 20 sec. plank; 10 calf drops on each leg; 20 Sit-Ups
Workout Comments: I did burpees with the pushups…hard! Lunges on bosu
Friday, March 2, 2018
6:03 AM Run – Easy Run
Planned: 7 mi
Completed: 7.01 mi ~ 1:11:31 (10:12 min/mi)
Saturday, March 3, 2018
7:15 AM 16 Mile Long Run
Planned: 16 miles. Nice and Easy.
Completed: 16 mi ~ 2:42:58 (10:10 min/mi)
Workout Comments: Based on HR it looks like I ran too hard, but I was actually at a nice conversational pace the whole time. My legs didn’t start getting tired until ~14.5. Nice run
Totals
Planned Run: 39.00 mi // Completed Run: 39.99 mi ~ 6:44:45
Completed Strength Training: 1:24:20

Disconnecting – Some thoughts

I am lucky enough to be able to run this path a couple times a week.

How do you make space for God in your life?

There are many answers to this question. I’d even say there are as many answers as there are people. We’re unique, we’re individuals, we don’t respond to life in the same ways. As much as I believe this, I also know that we human beings have very similar needs. One of those needs is to make space in our lives for soul connections.

For me, as a Christian, this means connection with God. For others the space will be identified differently. But somehow we all need to feed our souls.

One way, the primary way some might say, in my tradition is through worship and prayer. Sunday worship, for my Lutheran church. Unfortunately any look at our changing culture and the decline in many churches shows that this is not the primary soul food for many. I sometime hear people say the decline is because the people who aren’t in church aren’t interested in making space for God. I disagree. We need to think about traditional worship as maybe not the right space making activity. for many of our neighbors.

As I’ve thought about it, Sunday worship is not even my primary soul food. I find it helpful, sometimes moving, oftentimes emotional, occasionally inspirational, and gratifying. But it is no longer the primary source of food for my soul. Maybe that’s because I’m a pastor, and so when I am worshiping on Sunday, I’m actually leading worship. I’m preaching. I’m thinking about the lives of those present (and those absent). I’m wondering about the visitor and whether he or she feels welcome. I’m thinking about the message…will it be received? Is it being received? How was it received? I’ve got lots going through my head on Sunday morning. Basically, I’m working.

So what feeds my soul these days? How do I make space for God? Disconnecting from the world. Getting away from electronics…from screens, from music, emails-texts-and other notifications. I do this by running. I could more accurately say I stumble upon this through running.

When I first started running, I listened to music. I even had playlists for my iPhone, that matched my goal times of my first two marathons. But then something changed. One day I went for a run without the music (or podcast) and decided it was nice to be alone with myself (and the world around me).

Now I always run “disconnected.” Sometimes I run with other people and that is its own joy. But because of my schedule or my pace when going out for long runs with family members, most of my runs are done solo.

What do I think about? I can’t really say. Sometimes a sermon comes to me. Sometimes the solution to a problem arises. And sometimes I just enter this place of quiet in my brain. I’ve become appreciative of that quiet. This quiet is not an absence of anything but rather a communing with God in a way that fills my soul in a way that allows me to continue on this journey of life.

What about you? How do you make space for God? Or what feeds your soul?