Lessons learned while pounding the pavement…
Yesterday I completed my last substantial run before the marathon, which is now just under 2 weeks away. I can’t believe how this time has flied. It seems that just yesterday I was huffing and puffing trying to run 3 miles and now I have become a running Thomas Guide, as I have traversed just about all the roads in West LA!
I am so proud to say that because of the inspiration of this blog, many of you are now running races. You have no idea how much this fuels me and touches me all at the same time!! Some of you have written and asked for some real advice that you can’t read in running books. You know me, when you ask, you shall receive. With each race, I learn something. Here is what I learned this time around. Even if you aren’t a runner, you can adapt much of this to life so enjoy!
1. If you want to know what it feels like to be 80, run a marathon. It’s true kids. The one drawback to running the marathon is that you are always in pain and/or stiff and physically exhausted. The good news is that your tolerance for pain will go up so even when you are in pain, you will learn to ignore it, which is a great technique to use around mile 20 for all of you aspiring marathon runners. Advil definitely helps. I take 2 before my long runs and 4 afterwards and that takes the edge off. You will also need to get a little more sleep than normal and this will help your body to recover quicker.
2. Listen to what your body is telling you, it is not wrong. Through my first marathon, I fought tooth-and-nail with this one. I made myself train regardless of how I felt. I even went once for a long run with my sister in the dead of a snow storm when I had a cold. This time around though I have tried to be much better. If I am sick or too sore, of if the weather is inclement, I just don’t go. I think because of it, I have been able to recover a lot quicker and I am getting sick much less.
3. Experimentation is the only way to find out what will work for you. There are a million training books and even more supplements and sports drinks out there. Don’t assume that they will all work for you because they won’t. When it comes to developing a training plan, get input from everyone and then adapt your program to fit your lifestyle. When it comes to marathon fuel, try many brands and flavors. I recommend that you not only look to replace electrolytes, but look for a drink that also has sodium, like Gatorade. I used to get violently ill while I was running because I didn’t have enough sodium and switching my drink did the trick. Other runners carry salt packets with them. Again, whatever will work for you, do!
4. Things can sometimes get ugly. Just like in life, no one said it is going to be easy and it won’t. Running can definitely shake your system up. One minute you will feel fine and the next you will be on the side of the road getting sick or having to make an emergency bathroom stop. This is normal. Every runner I know has had this happen. Just like life, take a deep breath and keep going.
5. Never underestimate the power of Glide. I discovered this miracle stuff right before my last marathon. It looks exactly like a deodorant stick. You apply it to every part of your body that may rub (on your feet, your inner thighs, and if you are a woman, under your bra) and it will keep your clothes from irritating your skin.
6. Find a good podiatrist and a chiropractor. I don’t know where I would be without Dr. Nejat or Dr. Carrie. You have kept me in line even when I was out of line!! Ha!
7. There is nothing like a runner’s high. Some people experience it throughout their runs. I experience it especially during a race when spectators cheer for me (hint, hint) or when I finish my long runs. The runner’s high definitely exists and once you’ve experience it, you are hooked on this sport for the rest of your life.
8. Success tastes sweeter when you have someone to share it with. I am forever grateful to my running partner Leanne. I recommend that all runners find a partner. Leanne keeps me in line, on track and pushes me when I can no longer push myself. She has been a great motivator for this race and has become a great friend of mine.
I want to send much gratitude to my friend Amber and Ed Jackson for your kind donation. Ed is serving right now in our armed forces so I wish you a safe return!!