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Marathon Wisdom!

Most of you know that I had congestive heart failure in 2011. Since then I have run 7 marathons. A marathon is always 26.2 miles. My blog is usually related to fitness and weight loss. Today it is about things you need to know about a marathon.

Please vote for it anyway. Sympathy votes are like make up sex.

So you want to run a marathon? Here are some things to keep in mind. They are from my next book.

- A marathon is nothing like a half marathon. It's the difference between waking up after a glass of wine or two and waking up after five or six shots of tequila.
- Even when you have trained hard, expecting to run a faster pace then you did in any of your training runs is pathetic.
- Small races are much easier logistically, but they can get lonely those last 10 miles.
- Big races are awesome if you need crowd support.
- If you are planning to walk the last six miles after you hit the wall, why not walk the first six miles and finish stronger.
- The halfway point of a marathon is 20 miles.
- You need to practice fueling on all your practice runs.
- The shoes that work for your 5K and 10K - even your half may not work for a full.
- Any training runs longer than 20 miles can cause more damage than they can fix.
- Long slow runs are as effective for building VO2 Max as long fast runs. Use them to stay injury free.
- Run/Walk is not an option for an untrained runner. It is meant to give you a faster finishing time than running the entire time.
- Get your 20-miler in 6 weeks before the race. That way you have time to fix things and try it again. Or go with the confidence you nailed it.
- The last 6.2 miles are subject to change very quickly.
- Negative splits are essential for a good marathon. (slower miles to faster miles)
- Train with the hydration brand provided on the course.
- During big-city marathons be sure to sit as much as possible. Two or three hours on your feet before a race wastes energy you will need.
- Bring throw-away clothes. Space blankets are cheap! Bring two. One for the ground and one for cover up with.
- Pre-load electrolytes starting three days before a race.
- Hydrate well starting two days before a race.
- If you are going to carb-load, do it two nights before the race.
- Always practice you pre-race meal before a long training run.
- Most courses have hydration every 2 miles, some more often. Small sips during training during these intervals.
- During hot races it's a good idea to bring hydration. Water stops can be a zoo.
- My chiropractor said walk for an hour before sitting down after a marathon.
- To help you go out easy, warm up and stretch during the first mile or two.
- Study the course map. Knowing where hills are is helpful. If you are planning on walking, hills are a good place regardless of your intervals.
- Leg cramps are COMMON in the later miles of a marathon. Bring salt packs!

Thanks for the votes and comments.

I'm Sad and Angry!

Today is a bit of a rant. It's part of my therapy. Yesterday was the 120th running of the Boston Marathon. For those of you who have followed my story on this blog or read my book, you know how inspiring the Boston Marathon is to me.

The first time I saw the runners, my heart sank. I thought I had missed my chance to ever run.

I don't know what the magic of running - running Boston was. I was an overweight heart trauma survivor standing on the curbside ringing a cowbell. All I wanted to do before my heart failure was lose weight and complete a 5K.

I walked the mile home from the race that day. It took 50 minutes including a stop to sit on the park bench.

If you are like me, your relationship with food had to change. Your body image had to change. As I ran, I felt better about me, better about how I looked, and just better in general.

I have run the Boston Marathon two times; 2014 and 2015.

Yesterday I went to support my friends who were running. As I parked my car about a mile from the course I sat there and cried. I wanted to be out there running. Why was I sad? I got sick in October and my body has been the enemy of my running.

I gained 7 or 8 pounds too.

I have been on medication which has helped. My running is getting better and my weight is going back down. I ran the Asbury Park Half Marathon on Saturday. My goal is to run 50 half/full marathons in 50 states.

NJ was number 13.

Why am I angry? My fitness and performance has been sagging, and that bothers me - a lot! The good news is that Saturday I ran the longest distance that I have since December. It's a long way back to a marathon!

Today I am reminding myself to focus on my progress these last 5 years. My 50-minute mile is down to somewhere between 6 and 7 minutes. My 10K time is faster than that first mile back 5 years ago.

Thanks for listening, voting and commenting.

Lies Runners Tell

I am just 5 years out from that inspirational day when I watched my first Boston Marathon (2011). HERE is that story.  I was on the course in 2012 when the bombs went off. HERE is that story.

I have run the Boston Marathon two times (2014) and (2015). It's a great race and a great course!

The truth is this: I won't be running it this year.

People are funny. They always tell themselves lies. We have discussed them for weight-losers and today, in honor of the Boston Marathon, I am going to give you some examples of how runners think - and how they lie.

- These are really cute shoes! I love them. (They hurt like hell, but I paid a lot for them. I will make them work!)
- The doctor said don't run for 6 weeks. I guess I should just use the treadmill.
- My fastest long run was at 10:00 per mile. I am so excited I am going start out at an 8:00 minute per mile pace on race day.
- I run 6 miles every day and can't seem to get faster.
- My knee / shin / ankle / hip / ass doesn't hurt much, I think I'll go for a short run.
- These are really great running shoes I bought for walking.
- I didn't train for this marathon, but I am running it anyway.
- I am going to run this race for fun because I don’t really care about my time.
- I ran a 5K and burned 300 calories. Now I am going to have 2 bananas, a bagel with peanut butter, a Gatorade, and a bottle of beer. I earned it.
- Running is me time, but I do it so I can keep up with my kids.
- I always stretch regularly after running.
- I use a foam roller. (To rest my feet on when I watch TV.)
- There is only a mile left. (I said at mile 25 as if the last 2 tenths of a mile wouldn't kill me.)
- I am running now! (said every runner who stopped to text home.)
- I am going for an easy run.
- I didn't walk at all. (Except when I stopped to pee. And the water stops too.)
- Today is a rest day. (I decided to sleep in and run after work.)
- I don't have to pee.
- I don't like running with others. It's not because I am pathetic.

Thanks for the votes and comments.

Friend me at your own risk.

5 Years Ago My Life Almost Ended

I woke up this morning. I savored the last moments of a dream that made me feel warm inside. Out the window, in the cold distance, I could see the snow quietly falling. I yanked out the wedgie my boxers had created overnight. As I gathered my early morning thoughts, I picked up my cell phone. There was an alert from Facebook that I had memories. The first post was a photo from six years ago. There was a very large man playing guitar in a country band. I clicked share. The next image stopped me in my tracks.

It was me sitting in a hospital bed; my daughter by my side.

You see, today marks 5 years since I had congestive heart failure. I was in my early 50s. Although I had started to exercise and was down over 20 pounds, I was still over 250 pounds. (If you are from anyplace else in the world, it was still well over 100 kg!)

I remember some of the ambulance ride. There were a lot of other things going on too. The story is HERE if you want to read it. It is also in my book, ICU to Marathon.

I don't really know what else to write today.

I am grateful that I have overcome heart disease. Most of you know that I have run a few marathons; seven in fact. A few days ago I finished a 15K race in an hour-and-something. I am grateful for the gift of running. I have also logged in here for 1700-and-something days on MFP.

In addition, I have survived cancer more than once.

I can't imagine what my health would be like, if I was even alive, without getting fit. I didn’t just lose weight, but I worked hard on my physical fitness. And the legs have turned are pretty sexy. ;)

Life has many challenges, food doesn't have to be one of them!

Thanks for the votes and comments. Friend me at your own risk.
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