Here's another bullet-point post, covering some of the things I'm worried about or at least conscious of as this short marathon training cycle goes on:
The Garmin: Thank you guys so much for the feedback about my rebellious watch. After writing that post, I tried a few things. Washing the strap didn't fix the problem (though I do intend to be more faithful about washing it now; Garmin recommends it after every 7 uses, so that's what I'll be doing). When that didn't work, I restored factory settings on the watch itself. That might have helped.
But my new pet theory is that I am wearing two layers on my top half on these chilly mornings now, which means the heart-rate strap is buried not only under my bra and a thin shirt as usual, but also under a jacket made of tech material, and a much thicker material at that. So the past two mornings I've worn a much lighter jacket made of a softer material. And the watch has worked just fine after the known first five minutes of ups and downs before I start to sweat.
The past couple of mornings, while not balmy, haven't been as cold as what I know is going to be thrown at us at other points of the winter. I'm not sure how I'll deal with this when I *have* to wear a heavier jacket. I guess that will be the real test of this theory.
One interesting suggestion (from my awesome techie father-in-law): buy the gel doctors use for EKGs. My husband Dan laughed when he heard his dad had recommended this....but if I may just do it. I mean, if one is heart-rate training, one needs to be able to see their heart rate semi-accurately.
My Hamstring: It's better! But I think I'm going to have to be VERY careful with it with the volume I'm going to be doing coming up. That means massage and/or chiropractic work whenever I can (and whenever I can afford it; definitely the week before the race) and compression shorts on all hard and long runs.
Sleep: I've initiated Project 8:30. This is not only the pace I'll need to run in the race, but also the time I think I need to be in bed most nights this month. It won't work on Tuesdays (my late night at work), and I don't expect I'll turn the light out that early every night. But some nights I will. And on the others....9 p.m. is a nice hour for lights-out. This doesn't make for much of a social life, but I can make up for that in December after the race.
My Weight: No concerns here--it's where it should be at 127.5 this morning. For now, my crazy cravings have abated, and I successfully avoided eating any unauthorized Halloween candy (notice that I didn't say "any Halloween candy at all"). But I'm watching it anyway. I do expect the appetite to go screaming up, especially after this Saturday's 2.5-hour progression long run.
Strength Training: Darren is having me meet with his wife (yes--Colleen De Reuck!) once a week for the next four weeks. Today was the first of these sessions. It was great because I work harder in strength training with someone watching me (especially someone like her--I expect to be sore tomorrow), and she understands hamstring issues, having dealt with them, she said, for much of her career. She's also a very calming person. She told me today to remember that no matter what happens at the California International Marathon, there will be other races, other great runs and other marathons if I want them.
I'm glad I'll get to chat with her more in the coming weeks. I'll need Big Picture advice like that more as December 2 draws nearer.