Dry Martini: Dry Heaves

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I was all set to tell you about how different two long runs can be; then the above email showed up in my inbox and I had to go breathe into a paper bag until I could type again.

Note the subject line, which is “Your Training Journey Begins Today.” Note the sender, which is the New York Road Runners. Note the topic, which is the intimate marathon said Road Runners host in New York City in November. Which I am running. Which I am having second thoughts about running because, seriously. Why did I think this would be a good idea?

This email made the whole marathon thing real in a way that it hadn’t quite yet been. While the subject line is inaccurate in my case — my running training won’t actually start until a little bit into July — my freaking-the-freak out training started the instant I got this email.

I can think of so many reasons why this whole enterprise is doomed. And, yes, I do start every new challenge with a mental run-through of every worse case scenario that I can dream up. I do this so reflexively that I wonder if I should have gone into insurance.

Ranging from most likely to happen to least likely as I try to take on the NYC marathon:

  • I incur some debilitating injury and wind up not being able to run the race. The odds-on favorite injury will involve my right calf, which never wants to be a team player.
  • The hot and humid weather in July, August, and early September saps all of the will to run right out of my body and I give up on the activity entirely to take up full-contact knitting.
  • I can’t find anywhere in Florence, Italy, to do my long runs when we are on our long anticipated 10-day trip there in September. Or, more likely, I get so lost and/or distracted by vineyards in Tuscany that I never manage to find my way home. Which doesn’t really sound so bad, now that I think about it.
  • My 18-weeks of training leaves me so worn out that I fall asleep at my Actual Job one time too many and am replaced by a moderately trained capuchin.
  • My long training runs take so long — I’m really not a fast runner, y’all — that my children turn feral, my husband gives me up for dead, and my dog forgets me.
  • Race day volcano in Brooklyn.

But, realistically, my money is on injury, which seems to be what trips up so many would-be marathoners. My intentions are to foam roll like its my only job, sleep at every opportunity, and book massage/acupuncture sessions on the regular.

Rather than put my question to the Tribe at the end of this post, I’ll stick it here: What else should I do to take care of myself during this training cycle? I’m hoping your answers involve pints of Ben and Jerry’s.

Oh - and about those two long runs that I mentioned in that first sentence. The difference between the two was entirely weather-related because early summer in the Northeast is a fickle mistress.

I talked about my seven mile run on the Father’s Day podcast. In case you missed it, the Facebook status I posted after I’d dried off pretty much sums it up:

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Running in a deluge is a lovely reminder of what it means to be alive — and also a lovely reminder of how great a warm shower and dry clothes can be.

Contrast that with last Saturday’s Eminem run. Those eight miles were as hot and humid as the previous week’s run was wet. It was like a deluge of all that I dislike about summer. I managed to stay both hydrated and zippy through mile six. Then Voldesun climbed all the way above the tree cover and upped the torture level.

Still smiling after my dance with Voldesun. Could be the onset of heatstroke.

After a little bit of a sulk (okay - more than a little) about the situation, I managed to come up with some ideas about how to lessen the misery. I focused on my cadence rather than the sun. I watched the shadow that my kicky new (and now favorite) running skirt made on the bright sidewalk front of me, swishing back and forth with each step. I gave talking about myself in the third person another go. “Adrienne is strong,” I thought. “Adrienne is as fresh as a daisy.”

A lousy shot of my new favorite running skirt, admittedly. But it has so many pockets! And is all kicky! And doesn't creep up! And, no, not a paid endorsement for Skirt Sports. Just a satisfied runner.

All of that worked. Rather than give up during those last two miles, I kept my head (mostly) in the run. “Adrienne still felt a little dorky with the third person bit,” however, and is trying to work through her issues.

Speaking of the New York City marathon, I’m *thisclose* to my fund-raising goal. All of the donations are for Every Mother Counts. Every two minutes, a mother dies as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. Ninety-eight percent of these deaths are preventable. EMC is working to make sure that every mother has access to health care and support.

27 responses to “Dry Martini: Dry Heaves

  1. My biggest problem with marathon training was staying mentally tough. A suggestion I have that worked well for me was to invest in my friends. Namely someone who is willing to ride a bike or run with you. My running partner did the majority of the training plan with me yet she no intention EVER of running a marathon. We did all the weekday runs together. When it came to be long run days she did half run/ half ride. We made sure we always circled back to her house so she could grab her bike and ride with me as I ran. She kept my mind off the running and on conversation. bonus was that when she would stop at home she’d refill my water, pack a banana, bring homemade Gatorade(the best thing ever I might add) and fruit snacks. I thought I wouldn’t be able survive the race without a running buddy but that race has them everywhere. Best of luck on your training. You will do great.

  2. I found planning my long runs, and my entertainment, to be key. Coming up with the ten funniest tv/movie characters of all time. Must be funny on their own, not reliant on foil/ensemble. Or, the most annoying words in the English language…one for each letter. Lover, jocular, moist and slather were on the list. But, if injury happens, you can deal. my first NYC was 2012 (cancelled), but I spent 6 weeks on a stationary bike sweating out the amount of time I’d be running. I went back to my runs, hit my long runs, and knew I’d be fine. And, so will you!!! (And, I’ll check out that skirt. I’m a pocket hound)

  3. Here’s two cents worth from someone who didn’t make it to the starting line of her TLAM marathon last fall- heed the admonition in the plan that says it is ok to go easy on the “this will make you faster” part and concentrate on the “take it slow, steady, and easy ” on the go the distance part if this is your first marathon!!! If only I had highlighted and heeded that advice! The plan works and you’re rocking the plan in your flirty skirt (I love Skirt Sports too!). Remember you are doing the hard part now. With that over and done then marathon day will be a day to enjoy! You’re telling the world that every mother counts and being a part of something amazing! Wish I could be on the sideline cheering! But I will be in Texas mastering heart rate training so I can get to the start line eventually of my first marathon. You inspire me!

  4. Loved this post. You pulled the trigger on NYC for a reason–you are ready! Expect a couple of “road bumps” ( missed runs, crappy runs) and maybe a (minor!) “owie” that will test your mental strength. Ran my first 26.2 in Chicago last year–every email update made my stomach flip. Vision the finish line. There is NO other feeling when you cross it–and cross it you will!

  5. Running is 90% mental, 10% physical. If you think you can, you can! Regarding the running in Italy. My suggestion: just be on vacation. Do some short runs if it makes you happy. Do your long run before you go. You’ll be toast for a few days after you get back so don’t plan a long run until you’ve been back at least 3-4 days. Voice of experience talking here. If you REALLY want to do the long run in Italy, check out and see if anyone loaded routes into their site for the area you’ll be staying. You’ll do great, I know it!

  6. No advice here, but I just had to say that “race day volcano” is about the best thing I’ve read today. Now I know what to say if I end up racing in terrible conditions: “Well, it was hotter than the Sahara and more humid than the rainforest, but no volcanoes have opened up on the course yet, so I’ve got that going for me.”

  7. I was plagued with injury while training for marathon #1 and right before training started for #2. I found that even just one hour-long yoga class a week helped TONS to keep me injury-free for #2 and #3.
    Oh, and, I *totally* get the dry heaves part. I felt like the least-likely person to train for and run a full marathon. On one particularly hard run (thanks, Voldesun and 10-15 extra pounds I was hanging onto) during marathon training for #1, I felt like such a poser. I remember seeing myself through the eyes of the other people at the park that day who saw me run. I could hear them thinking, “What is that girl doing? Is she training for her first 5K?” I had to learn to get out of my own head. I had to trust the plan. To take it one week (or day!) at a time. To trust that if I put in the work, I would be able to do it. Guess what? Yep. 🙂


  8. I know Adrienne that you will be just fine. I would miss the long run in Tuscany and just be on holiday. I usually just put my long runs either side of the holiday (as best as I can around work etc) and have a holiday on holiday. x

  9. In my vast experience running marathons (kidding just 1) the best advice I have is focus on one run and one step at a time, plan your long runs around bathrooms and water stops, and yoga! I do got yoga which I think makes hot runs more bearable. (My coach doesn’t Agree)

  10. I don’t give advice as it seems to get me in trouble…here’s a couple suggestions tho. Run early. And I mean 5 a.m. is the cut off for being late. And yoga. I wouldn’t still be running after 45 years if I didn’t do yoga a few times a week along with strength/cross training.

  11. Your mind is your strongest muscle, strengthen it accordingly! I am excited to share this journey with you! I swear by arnica – a natural product to aid in swelling and soreness of muscles. Give it a shot! and if you do get sidetracked in the vineyards of Tuscany, photos please. Last, Serendipty will be my treat in NYC after we cross the finish line !

  12. My first marathon was a deluge. But since I count myself a ‘one and done’ I made the most of it! You are the badassiest badass of them all!

  13. I love your posts, so much so that I feel like we are friends. I mean that in a non-creepy way. I’m going to suggest adding a day of pool running to your training. I am, ahem, already injured and will be deferring my fall half marathon, but I’ve discovered that pool running is s fabulous way to get your cardio and miles without sweating or subjecting your legs to pounding. All you need is an aqua jogger belt to keep you uptight in the deep end, a bathing costume, and a pool.

  14. Wishing you the best of mind, body and spirit as you get over the gag reflex of training for something new. Research the lay of the land in Florence. The only place I have ever been truly lost w/o hope. Throw the bastardized Italian in there asking for help and it made for a good cry.

  15. Stock up on a couple pair of your favorite running shoes. You will be doing a lot of running and you don’t want to find out that you are over you shoe mileage during a 20 miler when your body is aching and you aren’t sure why – besides the obvious aforementioned: you are running A LOT. Secondly, pretend none of it is really happening to keep yourself sane 🙂

  16. I love, love, LOVE my Skirt Sports running skirts. I can’t run a marathon in anything else. So many pockets!!!! I put my gel in these little flasks that fit perfectly into the thigh pockets. Plus, in true SBS fashion, I can run and let the pee flow, and the skirt hides any evidence 🙂 As for advice, I would say listen to your body. Give it rest when it needs rest. A missed training run is not the end of the world 🙂

  17. My advice would be to look at your food intake. Remove any preservatives. Preservatives play havoc with the brain. Thus reducing the negative thinking and helps you to think more positively. Also, enjoy the journey! It only happens once.

  18. Adrienne – your posts are by far my favorite, I never get through them without a chuckle! I will now refer to all my 8 milers as my ‘Eminem run’, and agree that nothing make me feel more like a BAMR then running in the pouring rain 🙂 I don’t have any advice – running my first half in the fall, but as an admitted ice cream-aholic (there’s nothing wrong with a little every day right?!?), in my opinion you can never go wrong with a little Ben & Jerry’s! You’re going to rock NYC and I look forward to following you along the way!

  19. I too was super freaked out about injury, having a trick right foot. I absolutely agree with foam rolling like it’s your primary job, and sleeping like it’s your second. I would also add ice baths after the really long runs, and 1-2 strength workouts per week. That last one was a biggie for me, and I really feel it made a difference. (And yes, I know it’s wayyyyy less alluring than Ben & Jerry’s.)

  20. LOL, your email in my inbox had the same effect on me! I am also running a marathon on November 9th, the RnR Savannah, with a dear friend who moved down there. I have run 2 marathons before, but that was over 20 years ago, so it is as if I never have.
    Heidi, lots of great advice there. Running with others, just to up my mileage is how I ended up running my first marathon 😉
    Adrienne, if you want to justify your B&J’s, there is the Brain Freezer 5 K in Burlington on July 9. You run half, eat a pint of B&J’s, then run the rest. I have been taking the eating B&J’s training very seriously 😉

  21. Lots of advice:
    1. Enjoy this journey and try to forget about where you are going or if you might get lost. Enjoy each run for the gift that it is.
    2. Lots of self care as you have mentioned. Sorry, I would not say that Ben and Jerry’s is a big part of that. But increasing fruits and vegetables will give your body more antioxidants to clean up those extra free radicals that your body may see as a result of this increased training. Not to say no Ben and Jerry’s. I like to “reward” myself with a treat on Saturday night.
    3. Practice your pre run breakfast and fueling you plan to use on marathon day so that your body is very used to this and it is automatic for you. Make sure you have enough fluids on those hot days.
    4. Make sure that you do regular core strengthening exercises.

    Ok, that is all for now. We are all here for you when you feel like you are on the edge of a cliff. Oh, here is how I trained for my first marathon. I joined some friends who were training, but did not sign up for the marathon. So I really did not think I was going to run the marathon. I was just enjoying running with new friends and seeing if I could run farther than I had in the past. Then one in the group got injured and I took her spot on the starting line at the last minute. So just pretend that you are running for fun if the whole running because you plan to run a marathon in November starts freaking you out. =)

  22. A wise person once told me, “trust the training, respect the distance” and you’ll get through any distance. You will be amazed how you look forward to your training as you go along. I need to get better, more consistent now I’m moved to NC.

  23. My best advice is to not ramp up your mileage too quickly. Most marathon training plans build the miles each week; some fairly quickly. I’ve been told my several coaches that the best way to do it is to hold steady at a weekly mileage for a few weeks, take a cut-back week, then add mileage. Continue the pattern. You’re going to do great, and you’ll be on that starting line representing all the bad ass mother runners!

  24. I was just as “dry-heavey” when I would think about running my first. However, the tribe (including you!) that I got to know while in Little Rock convinced me that as long as you “trust the process”, you’ll be fine. Adrienne…you’ll be just fine!!! We’re all here to listen to the freak outs and send encouragement. Breathe. 🙂

  25. Having been caught in a downpour last night, actually it was a deluge, I echo the badass of all bassess sentiment. As for your question-sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep through training.

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