Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 2011 Recap

Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo, but I may try to keep it up for a few more days. Anyway, November did not end as planned, but it was still an amazing month. I'll let the numbers speak for themselves.

In other news, I'm finally mentally recovered from this marathon I have registered for my 3rd, a hilly full marathon in Ocala in January as a training run for BCM in February, and thus finally becoming a marathon maniac! :) I just hope I'm not last =P I have a slew of half marathons I'm going to register for very soon also in my quest to become a level 2 or 3 half fanatic by the end of next year.

Stats & Goal Progress (92%)
  • ran 94 miles; 829/700 (118% goal exceeded!)
  • biked 5 miles; 581/2000 (43%)
  • walked 51 miles; 376/400 (94%)
  • yoga/core/strength: 15 sessions; 5.6 hours
  • total: 150 miles; 41 hours; 2056/3100 (66%); 402/365 (110% goal exceeded!)
November Accomplishments
Goals for December
  • OUC Half Marathon (for FUN!)
  • 20+ Long Run
  • Christmas Eve Jingle Bell Run with Group
  • Bike :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marathon Recovery Part II

Physically, I'm recovering from this marathon very well. Today I ran 2 slow miles, running 1 minute for every 2 minutes of walking, and walked an additional mile to warm up/cool down. I also did some yoga, lots of icing, and even rode my bike! :) Soreness is almost gone, except for some tender areas near my glutes and hamstrings.

Mentally, I'm still a bit of a mess but putting on a brave face :) I've turn to the data for comfort, as well as planning my racing schedule for the rest of the season. I've been on the verge of registering for at least half a dozen races today, but I've yet to pull the trigger on any. Maybe when Jason gets home we'll both do it. I always say that the best way to battle post-race blues is to have another goal in mind. I do in BCM, but that's almost 3 months away and I need something to focus on sooner. I have a few in mind (OUC, Ocala, DeLeons) but I welcome your race suggestions.

Anyway, let's look at the race data. Below are the official race splits, followed by my mile splits as recorded by my Garmin watch. Note that I turned off auto pause so these splits include potty breaks, but those are part of the race :) You can clearly see when the wheels fell off. I was running a study pace through mile 12, then picked up the pace as we approached the half way mark. That surge of speed, against wicked winds, got us the average pace we needed, but it cost me the rest of the race. I clearly couldn't maintain that pace, and went back to the previous steady pace, but it was too late and then my knee gave out. The official results show that I ran 20 miles in just 4 hours at a 12 min/mi pace. That right there is a PR, so I'll take it :)

Official Splits:

10K - 1:13:06 @ 11:47
Half - 2:35:02 @ 11:50
20 Miles - 4:00:59 @ 12:02
Last 10K - 1:42:17 @ 16:29

Garmin Splits:

1 12:21
2 11:41
3 11:32
4 11:23
5 11:30
6 11:26
7 11:31
8 11:44
9 11:43
10 11:54
11 12:54 (potty break)
12 11:44
13 10:59 (trying to get on pace by the half)
14 11:01 (trying to maintain pace)
15 11:42
16 11:42
17 11:56
18 11:41
19 12:35 (wheels started falling off - last ditch effort)
20 15:11 (wheels gone)
21 16:03
22 17:39
23 15:04
24 16:26
25 17:06
26 16:00
.46   14:23 (final push 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Marathon Recovery

I'm feeling surprisingly good today considering what I went through yesterday, but one thing I've learned during this training session is how to speed up recovery. Here's what helped this time around, in bullet form because I'm running out of steam tonight.


Post-Race Yesterday:

  • refuel - by the time I finished, all there was to eat was cold pizza and pancakes. I wanted to hot food and my usual fried eggs, so we stopped at a dinner no the way home. 
  • ice bath - as soon as I got home I sat in an ice bath. It worked wonders as usual.
  • compression - after the ice bath I put on my 110% compression capris and compression socks and laid in bed with feet elevated.  
  • ibuprofen - this goes without saying
Today:
  • compression & ice - as soon as I woke up, I put my compression pants and socks back on and used the pockets to ice my knees, quads, and hamstrings.
  • walking - Before I could get too comfortable and lethargic from lying in bed watching TV all day, I went for a walk. As luck would have it, Tami was at Lake Eola already and I walked 3 miles with her! I was shocked at how little soreness I felt while walking and that I was able to manage my normal walking pace. I did start to feel soreness towards the end of the walk, so I iced again as soon as I got home (I was still wearing my compression gear during the walk).
  • yoga - I thought I was too sore for yoga, but thought I'd give a try. It felt fine, but I only managed 12 minutes. 
  • massage - I went for an hour and a half relaxing massage this afternoon that felt wonderful.
  • ibuprofen - this goes without saying
Tomorrow:
  • yoga
  • walk
  • The Stick
  • maybe a short, slow jog
So that takes care of the physical recovery; I'm still working on the mental recovery. I know that I was all smiles yesterday trying to pretend I was ok, but I'm crushed and went through the 5 stages of grief all over again today. Now I'm mentally exhausted, but I know I'll bounce back soon enough so this is a topic for another post. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Race Report: Space Coast Marathon

Well, today was not my day, and that is ok. I did not finish sub-5 hrs or even a PR, but I still found the strength to finish my 2nd marathon in one piece and smiling, so I call that success :) Lots of things went wrong today, most of which I could not control -- rain, wind, humidity, heat -- but the one thing I could control was knowing when to pull back when my knee (IT me thinks) started screaming. This race report is best told through the 5 stages of grief, all of which I experienced during this race.









\
Denial - It was already warm -- mid 60s -- in Orlando when I woke up at 3 am and the forecast said it was 10 degrees warmer at the race. If we are being honest, deep down I knew then that I would not meet my goal. I still thought I could pull it off somehow, so I tried to ignore it. When we got to the race, it was windy but still warm enough to wear a singlet with my running skirt, and I even considered not wearing my knee high compression socks. I was upset; I kept bitching to anyone that would listen that it was too hot, while at the same time convincing myself it would be fine. By the time we walked to the start, it was 73º and I was sweating; but I chucked that up to nerves since everyone else was cold. Again, all the signs were there that I should adjust my plan then, but I ignored them. I almost immediately abandoned my 4:50 goal, but seemed to be running the pace I needed so kept at it. We finished the first half right on pace (2:35) and got our 2nd wind after seeing Jason, Omar and Laura. As soon as we turned the corner we were accosted with a serious 15 mph headwind with rain that knocked the wind out of my sails. I kept pushing but when my knee started to hurt, and I noticed our average pace had not changed in miles, I knew it wasn't going to happen.



Anger - I was angry that I had waited too long before listening to my body. The truth is that I was already sore and struggling a bit during the first half but that didn't seem out of the ordinary. I thought that was part of truly racing a marathon, but I didn't take my own advice and didn't focus on running the first half comfortably. If I had adjusted my pace and goal from the very beginning, run a steady easy pace, my knee may not have given out and I may have PRed. I'll never know that for sure, but you know I can't help but wonder it. Our pace had been increasing steadily through the first half, and then I took comfort when it was at least not decreasing. Once I realized that I was no longer even able to maintain the pace but it was in fact slipping, I was angry.

Bargaining - As my average pace slipped and slipped way past the point of no return to come anywhere near the 5 hour mark, I began calculating how low I could slip and still PR. I adjusted my intervals so I was running slower for longer, but that only helped for a bit. Then I began running slowly for however long I could, then taking a 1 minute walk break. I tried everything I could to at least hit that goal, but nothing worked.

Depression - I had hit the point of no return for even a PR and was in so much pain, that all I had left in me was tears. Every ounce of my body hurt like it had never hurt before. It even hurt to breath or hold myself upright. I started texting Jason and doubting if I could even finish. I was determined to try, but the walking became more frequent and I seriously thought of walking the rest of the race but 10K was a long way to go at a shuffle. My feet were screaming at me, so I ran when I could to help propel me forward a little bit faster. Then my knee would begin to protest and I'd walk again. This went on and on for I don't know how long and I was no longer trying to hold back tears and burst into sobs.

Acceptance - Kerrie caught up to me just before mile 20 as I hit this low point, and she stayed with me to the end. She was struggling too and we were giving the other strength to go on. This was her 7th marathon and she was just the ray of sunshine I needed at that moment. She always has a smile on her face, and her motto is "if we're not having fun, then why are we doing this?" She helped me remember what truly mattered today, pulled me out of my little pitty party, I accepted my situation confirming I made the right choice earlier, and helped me achieve the most important goal of all: finish with a smile! =) Then our other group leader Kirsty and Jason joined us just before mile 26 and now we were laughing. I had regained enough strength to running the entire length of the finishing shoot and finish running with a smile :) I was at peace when I crossed that finish line and proud that I had finished yet another marathon despite of the challenges I faced. 3 Years ago I didn't think running a marathon was something I could ever do and wasn't even sure I wanted to try, and now I've done it TWICE! (more if you count the training runs). And no, this will not be my last marathon; I'm still running BCM in February and others in the future, but the focus will be on enjoying the experience and running. I still prefer the half marathon distance and that will be my focus for speed next year.

Race Highlights: 
  • Because this is a local race, there were a LOT of runners doing the half and full that I knew, including a huge showing from our Orlando Galloway Program. Since this is a bow-tie course, with 2 out and back sections, it was great fun to spot them along the way and cheer for each other. I felt like a celebrity every time one of them spotted me and screamed my name. 
  • The course was gorgeous, and I'm so glad I had Dawn there with me to point it out during the first half. There were all these picturesque spots along the riverbed and some really pretty houses.
  • The course support for this race is like no other. I loved seeing the themed water stations, having a ton of water along the way (though they decreased on the 2nd half when we needed them most), they were well stocked with gels, and the volunteers were very helpful and encouraging. 
  • The medal is huge and even more impressive than last year's. I am glad I was able to be part of their 40th Anniversary. 
  • Sharing it with my Galloway Family and Jason. I'm so proud that they all did so well.
  • I wasn't last! =P
  • Finishing laughing with great running friends! =)
Congratulations to everyone who finished this race! And a huge thank you to everyone who supported me today, whether it was on Facebook, exchanging cheers on the course, or helping me finish strong. I could not do any of this without you!

Stats:
  • AG 38/48 
  • Overall 748/906
  • clock 5:47:13
  • chip 5:43:16
  • pace 13:07
  • 10k 1:13:06
  • half 2:35:02
  • 20 miles 4:00:59 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Space Coast Marathon Goals, Pacing Strategy & Tracking Info

This is it! In less than 24 hours, I'll be undertaking my 2nd marathon. I'm a little anxious, but I'm far more excited! :) I really cannot wait to experience this and see what I'm truly made of :) So I thought in this post I'd let you in on the thought process behind my goals and pacing strategy. But first, here's how to track me on race day. I'm #248. Jason is #2872

Track Me:
  1. Live results will be posted at http://SpaceCoastMarathon.com/ as we cross the timing mats for the following splits: 
    • Full = 10K, half, 20 miles, finish. 
    • Half = 5K, 10K, 15K, and finish
  2. I'll run with my iPhone and Runmeter will post my splits to TwitterFacebook, and Dailymile along with a link to a google map where you can track me in real time.
    • The map will update every 5 minutes. 
    • Dailymile, Facebook and Twitter will update every 5 miles. 
    • I'll be able to hear your comments on all 3 of those sites; your happy thoughts and words of encouragement will be most welcomed. 
    • The race starts at 6:15, and I hope to be done no later than 11:15, so you can sleep in and check in on me after you wake up :)
Goals: As always, my #1 goal is to do my best and finish with a smile on my face. I'm going all out on this race, so the smile at the end may be forced and through joy-filled tears, but that's still a goal. My primary time goal is anything under 5 hours, but I'm shooting for 4:50 - 4:55. My predicted time, with an all out effort and perfect conditions, is 4:46, so this is still a bit of a conservative goal. Of course, I'll adjust my expectations on race day according to the weather and how I feel. 

Pacing Strategy: My plan as always is to run negative splits because it is how I perform my best. If I start slow enough, I can pick up considerable speed at the end. I'll run the first half at a comfortable pace, then pick it up for the second half.

I used this race split calculator to determine my splits for various finishing times using very negative splits. A very negative split strategy will ensure I don't start out too fast even if my goal is too aggressive. By following a pace chart for 4:50 it also gives me a little cushion to still finish in under 5 hours, in case I don't speed up as much on the 2nd half or I run longer than 26.2 and thus my average pace on my watch would need to be faster to ensure I officially finish in under 5 hours. 

I am really good at sticking to my pace chart, and thus holding myself back too much, so this is another reason I'll have a pace chart for a 4:50 goal in case the stars align and I'm capable of that. Ultimately though, I know I can slow to an average pace of 11:24 and still make my 5 hour goal. Mile 1 on the pace chart for any of my goals is still slower than that, so I won't screw myself too much if the goal is too aggressive. 

Instead of bringing a full pace chart for all 26.2 miles and obsessing over every single mile split, I'm going to carry the compressed pace chart below showing a range of where my average pace needs to be at key points in the race (fastest = 4:50 finish, middle = 4:55 finish, slowest = 4:59 finish). This will ensure I stay on track but it won't matter too much if I hit every single mile split as long as my average is where it needs to be. 


Wish me luck and if you can login to TwitterFacebook, or Dailymile between 6:15 and 11 am tomorrow and virtually cheer me on! I won't be able to respond during the race, but will hear/read every one of your comments and trust me they'll help :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Marathon 2 Training Recap

After yesterday morning's run, marathon training is officially over. All I have to do now is relax and stay healthy for the next 2 days and toe the line on Sunday. This has been my best training season yet, and I have my Galloway group to thank for that. I started doing all my runs with them, not just the Saturday long runs, and the consistency and variety has done wonders for my running. I added speed work this season and still managed to stay relatively injury free; I only dealt with 2 very minor injuries and only missed 2 days of training total!

Here's the 26 weeks of marathon training at a glance. The first week was so low because I was on a cruise, but I still managed to fit in a few short runs on the ship's track. The 42-mile week was when I peaked with my last long run of 31 miles, then I have been tapering ever since. Of course, the last week will include the actual marathon, but we're focusing on training runs in this post. I averaged 20.6 miles per week for the entire training cycle, and I'm thrilled with that.

And here is the 6 months of marathon training at a glance. I was thrilled when I broke 100 miles in September for the first time ever, and then surpassed that by 27 miles in October as my training peaked. I find it funny that November was not my lowest milage month considering I am tapering, but I'm a much stronger runner now and June was me cautiously building back up my marathon base. 

Totals:

  • ran 536 miles
    • 20.5 avg miles per week
    • 89 avg miles per month
  • ran 108 hours
    • 4 avg hrs per week
    • 18 avg hrs per month
  • 12:05 min/mi average pace (for all runs)
    • long distance runs = 13 - 13:30
    • mid distance runs = 12 - 12:30
    • short runs = 10:30 - 11:30
  • walked 213 miles / 67 hours
    • 8 avg miles / 2.5 hrs per week 
    • 35 avg miles / 11 hrs per month 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Three Things Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

#1) My Own Turkey Trot: I started the day off great with a fun 4.5 mile run with Jason and my Galloway group. We had our own Turkey Trot in Downtown Orlando, followed by sipping Mimosas while we watched the official Turkey Trot race. It was a gorgeous morning, and the run was a blast at a fun pace :) Jason even ran intervals with us and enjoyed himself! Yay! I'm planning an encore on Christmas Eve.

#2) Muppets Movie: We needed to kill sometime before dinner, so we went to see the Muppets movie after lunch. We enjoyed the 2 mile walk (roundtrip) to the movie theater in the crisp fall air. It was the perfect way to break up our day. The movie was excellent and totally adorable.

#3) Thanksgiving Dinner/Family Time: After the movie, we decided to head to my mom's early and help her finish dinner. We were already hungry and kept picking at stuff as we cooked it. Isn't that what this holiday is all about? ;)

My sister and the kids arrived about half hour after we finished cooking, so we got down to business. I didn't think I ate that much, but it's still painful. I guess that's what happens when my meal consists mostly of carbs: 3 different types of potatoes (sweet, mashed, salad), green beans, yuca, stuffing, and lots of bread. I think all this just expanded in my stomach and stretched it to the limit.

The whole family went for a walk after dinner in an attempt to make room for pie. My niece loves being outside, and of course when we walked by the playground she had to play on the slides. She's too cute for words. Mom and I walked ahead and enjoyed some mother/daughter time and the cool air while the kiddos played. We got back to the house and still felt a bit full, but pie would wait no longer. We had 3 types of pie -- mango key lime, turtle cream, dark chocolate cream -- and of course I had to try a sliver from each of them. We promptly left after that lest we were tempted to eat more, not that any of us had any room to spare. Of course, we brought home some leftovers (including a bit of each pie) but will probably not need to eat until Sunday =P

Only 2 more days until race day, and I'm really looking forward to relaxing until then. I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday and enjoys the rest of the long weekend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Running Survey

Taking a break from talking about taper madness and filling out a fun running survey instead.

What is your favorite type of cross training? Yoga! I also like cycling, but I haven't done much of it since starting marathon training. I plan to pick it up again after the new year.

What is your favorite song to run to? I don't run with music anymore. I find it distracting, although sometimes when running alone I need that distraction but it is really rare.

What brand of shoes do you wear? Saucony Ride 3, but I'm not loyal to a brand. That's just the shoes I got fitted to when I started running. I've gotten re-fitted a few times, and always end up with Saucony. When I first started exercising, I bought some running shoes at an outlet store and they were actually Saucony

Do you wear a hat when you run? Not usually, but I've found it indispensable when it's raining or when I need to carry a headlamp.

What temperature is your favorite for running? 60s

Do you have any big races coming up? Oh, just my 2nd marathon! =)

What is your favorite distance? Half marathon

Are you a morning, noon, or evening runner? morning

Do you run solo or with a buddy? both, but this season all my runs have been with my Galloway running group and I love it. Leading a group has held me accountable and my running has never been more consistent.

What is your favorite post run snack? I eat a banana after every run on my ride home so I get some food in me immediately. If I'm running really long, I bring a luna bar for extra protein, then after I shower I eat some eggs.

What is your favorite race? I love them all! If I must choose, I'll pick Space Coast. I had so much fan at the half last year that I'm going back for the full this year. BCM is a close second because it is such a great cause and the energy is amazing.

Do you wear a Garmin? If not, how do you track your distance? I used to until it broke, so I started using Runmeter on my iPhone. I love this app because it lets me post to dailymile directly from it as soon as I finish my run, and I like to run with my iPhone in case I get my group lost :) My dad lent me his to use for the upcoming marathon, so I've been using it the last few weeks to get used to it again. I prefer the phone because when I wear the watch I can't help but look at it every 2 seconds.

What is your least favorite race? Baldwin Park Duathlon: the 5-loop bike course on narrow roads was no fun.

Where is your favorite medal from? So far it's probably the one from Miami Beach Halloween Half Marathon: a coffin that opens to reveal a vampire inside. However, I also love the Space Coast medal and this year's is going to be even better.

Who is your running idol? My dad

How long have you been a runner? Since April of 2008

What is your favorite workout? tempo? long run? fartlek? repeats? I love the variety of all these, but my favorite definitely is the long run. I just love that easy pace where you can get lose in conversation and before you know it 2 hours have passed.

What is your favorite place to run? I don't really care as long as it is outside. I can't stand the treadmill. 

Do you use Gu? yes, for longer runs and races, but I prefer shot blocks for shorter ones.

What do you drink to keep hydrated? I usually only drink water, but may take the occasional sip of gatorade if it's really hot out. 

What do you take with you on a run? Does it vary by distance? Yes, it varies by distance. At a minimum, I have my stop watch, but almost always carry my iPhone. If it's hot or I am running long, I carry water. Of course, for long runs I'll carry gels or shot blocks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Penultimate Run & Race Packet

#1 - Penultimate Marathon Training Run: I ran 4 miles easy (11:51 pace) this morning with my group. This will probably be my last run with my group before the race; I plan to sleep in on Thursday and running on my own whenever I wake up -- sadly that will likely be 7 am. It was still pretty humid this morning, but there was a nice breeze that made it really pleasant. The run felt great, but I'm really starting to worry about the weather. It is almost December and it still feels like August should. I am really hoping for a miracle and sub-60º at the race start. At least it's supposed to be partly cloudy and we'll be running next to a river, so I'm hoping for a nice breeze to make it feel cooler.

#2 - Race Packet: I very kind soul from Marathonfest went to Melbourne yesterday and picked up a ton of race packets, so I just had to drive a few miles to her office today to get them. The race shirt this year is blue with short sleeves, and I love it. I was worried it would be too big because someone said they were unisex shirts and theirs was too big. Despite ordering an x-small, I got a small and it fits perfectly. I'm so excited that I'll get to wear it to run after this race :) Last year's long sleeve shirt was nice, but I rarely wear white and it's really not cold enough in Florida for long sleeves most of the time. After seeing my race bib, I started to get (more) anxious and second guessing everything. But then over dinner I somehow settled on an even more aggressive goal. I'll have both pace charts with me and listen to my body. I'll write a whole post about my race strategy later, but the gist of it is I want to enjoy the first half at a comfortably hard pace, and then push to finish strong.  We'll see what I'm made of soon enough.

> Countdown to Launch: 4 Days, 11 hours, 21 minutes, 58 seconds

Monday, November 21, 2011

Magic Words


"Magic words distract you from the discomfort, while they connect directly to the extra spirit that all of us have hidden inside." - Jeff Galloway

Jeff Galloway suggests using magic words to pull yourself out of the downturn of motivation and physical energy that usually happens towards the end of a race when thing get really challenging. As I was reading this chapter, I realized I already do this. I talk to myself all the time during those last few challenging miles when it takes more than just physical strength to meet my goal. I guess mine are more phrases than words, but they seem to work. Here's what I remember telling myself during my last race:
  • "dig deep" -- I use this one a LOT towards the end of a race when I am tired and the going gets tougher but I know that I have more to give
  • "come on, push!" -- this is similar to dig deep, but somehow works better for me. I think it's because it's easier to say and I can visualize it better than digging deep which is such an abstract concept.
  • "only 2 minutes!; I can push for 2 minutes" -- this is the beauty of walk breaks; I only have to push myself for 1-3 minutes at a time and mentally that's easy to do but somethings I have to remind myself that's all I need to do. 
  • "walk faster!" -- I do this at the end of a race when my body just wants to go out for a stroll.
  • "I can do this!" -- this is me talking to my left brain who is telling me that I can't push any harder or won't make my goal, so I have to set it straight :) 
  • "I've already done this!" -- this one is so powerful, and very helpful towards the end of the race, say the last 5K, when you've already covered that distance a zillion times
  • "short quick steps" -- this was a new one at my last race because I was afraid of over striding to run faster and thus injuring my hamstring. So I remembered Jeff's cadence drills and that I didn't need a longer stride to run faster, just to move my feet quicker. It really worked. My final sprint was just under 8 min/mi and I never extended my stride. 
The book suggests the following process (paraphrased below) for coming up with your own magic words:
  • list problem areas (e.g. relaxation, motivation, digging deeper)
  • for each problem, list specific experiences in which you overcame the problem
  • attach a key word or phrase to each experience
I went through this exercise and tried to come up with single magic words that would get me through the toughest challenges I face during a race. It will be a lot easier to keep myself motivated if all I have to do is remember one word and evoke a plethora of successful experiences to get me through it. 
  • "breath" -- when I have a side stitch, or need to engage my core to dig really deep, I remember my yoga and focus on my breathing. I remember how it's easier to hold a tough yoga pose if I just breath through it, and I do the same. I take deep breaths through my nose, expanding my stomach, then let it out slowly through my mouth while I suck in my gut and tighten my core. 
  • "relax" -- I tend to get pain in my shoulders and between my shoulder blades when I'm pushing hard, and it's mainly from bad posture due to tensing up, so I need to tell myself to relax. I roll my shoulders back, stand up straight, engage my core and focus on running relaxed in sync with my breathing.
  • "push" - during the last 3rd or so of a race, it becomes a mental struggle to maintain my pace and not slow down. I need to push myself hard during those run intervals, and the walk breaks too. When I evoke this word this weekend, I'll think about how I pushed through the last mile of my last half marathon against that crazy wind.
  • "focus" - the longer I ran and more fatigue I become, the harder it is to maintain good running form. In order to run fast most efficiently and avoid injury, I'll need to focus on running tall, keeping my feet close to the ground with quick turnover instead of extending my stride. 
  • "easy" - it's easy to start too fast at the beginning of a race, so to hold myself back I focus on running easy. I use this a lot when I am warming up. The first few run segments always feel a little awkward, as my body adjusts to the environment, but they shouldn't. I simply say this to remind myself I should not be struggling this early on and slow down to a comfortable pace until I feel like I'm running smoothly.
What are your magic words?

> Countdown to Launch: 5 Days, 11 hours! =)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Marathon 2 Training - Week 25

Not much to report this week, other than I made it through to the last week of taper aka race week! :) I'm beyond excited, and nerves are starting to kick in. Looks like I took taper seriously this week, and I didn't really do much other than my 3 scheduled runs, but I wasn't feeling well most of the week. This week will be another easy week, with 2 short runs, then race day!

  • ran 16.5 miles
  • waked 8 miles
  • 1 yoga session (16 minutes)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not the morning I expected

I had quite the eventful morning. Despite being able to sleep in and start my run at 7 am for the first time since god knows when, I was wide awake at 4:30 a.m. I thought about going back to sleep, but I knew that would only make me groggy, so I killed some time then got ready slowly.

I got to the school very early because I had the time and was afraid the parking lot would be full and I'd have to park behind the school. There was plenty of parking. I visited with Laura for a little bit until my group got back from their first 14 miles, then headed out at 7 am. We started on a 6 mile loop together, then most of the group headed back at the 3 mile mark while I ran an extra loop and helped Chris and Omar complete the last 8.5 miles of their first 23 mile run. They were diligent at keeping their pace slow for the first 14.5 miles and were able to finish these last 8.5 with me very strong. We averaged an 11:30 pace! A tad faster than I expected, but it didn't feel hard. I'm so proud of them!

With about 2 miles to go, I realized my car key was no longer attached to my shoe lace. I could not believe I had lost the car key ... again. The only time I remembered messing with my shoe was at the beginning of the run, so we kept an eye out for it as we finished our run. It gave the boys something to focus on and distracted them from the pain. I was out of luck and the key was nowhere in sight.

I called Geico to use roadside assistance, only to realize I had forgotten to add it back when I re-added the car after our no-car experiment. However, they were very helpful in referring me to a trusted locksmith who could come open the car and make me a key, but it would take some time. Chris was kind enough to wait with me to get everything sorted, then let me hang out at his place and feed me breakfast until the locksmith arrived.

I was not looking forward to spending all this money on a new car key, but I was out of options. When the locksmith arrived, I was impressed with their quick and thorough service. I was also grateful the type of car key I have was the cheaper option. Now I just need to get a spare, or three, in case this ever happens again =P

Three hours after finishing my run, I was finally home. It totally threw off my morning, but I managed to get some laundry done and relax for the rest of the day. So that's how my last marathon training long run played out. =) My legs are a little sore because our pace was faster than I expected, and probably because I am not fully recovered from Sunday's race, but it felt good. I'm looking forward to taking it easy during this last taper week and oh so ready for this race! Bring it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

HBBC Starts Tomorrow!

Amanda's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge (HBBC) starts tomorrow! From November 19 through January 6, you can earn points by making your health and fitness a priority during the holiday season for a chance to win some amazing prizes. Here's a breakdown of the points system:
  • 1 Point per mile (run/walk)
  • 1 Point per 3 miles biked
  • 1 Point per 20 minutes of weight lifting, Pilates, yoga, stretching or abs
  • 1 Point per 15 minutes of low impact cardio (i.e. low impact aerobics, easy biking, skiing, skating, water aerobics, snow shoeing)
  • 1 Point per 10 minutes of high impact cardio (i.e.spinning, kickboxing, lap swimming)
  • 1 Point per day where you reach a minimum of 7 servings of fruits and veggies
You can still sign up and join in the fun, so what are you waiting for?

I'll be including my progress in HBBC in my weekly recaps. I'll kick things off tomorrow with at least 10 points, starting with a 9 mile run with my Galloway group. It will be my last long run before the marathon, and I'll be helping 2 of them finish their longest run ever of 23 miles. I'm so excited for them and that I get to share that milestone with them. I'll probably do a quick yoga stretch after the run, another hour on Sunday morning, then relax for the rest of the weekend and last week of taper.


Countdown to Launch: 8 Days, 12 hours =)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three Things Thursday: 10 Day to Go!


#1 Running & Taper - I ran an easy 4 miles this morning because I didn't have it in me to do anything else. I wanted to do the schedules mile repeats but thought better of it because it was windy (and I'm both in recovery and taper this week.  I'm not really sore anymore, but I'm feeling really tired lately and now my body aches. Aaaah, good ol taper :) Only 3 more runs to go before the big day!  

#2 Yoga - I haven't done much yoga this week, opting for extra sleep instead. I haven't been feeling well, so I'm giving my body what it needs. I'll try to do some yoga this weekend or next week. I know that rest is the most important thing I can do for my body and training right now. 

#3 Sickness - I feel much better than I did on Tuesday, but I'm still feeling tired and have tummy issues. Thankfully the headache is gone. I don't know if I'm not eating enough, or if my body is revolting from eating too much crap. Other than eggs for breakfast, last night's dinner was the first homemade meal I've had since last Thursday. My throat is also bothering me, not sore or scratchy, but like there is stuff there that I keep swallowing and making my stomach more upset. I'm hoping is just taper nonsense and I'll be fine with lots of rest and water. 

Count down to race day: 10 days and 3 runs to go! Bring it! =)

Bonus - In my previous post, I did a mental rehearsal of marathon race day. This was obviously a best case scenario, but I really do not feel there is any challenge I can't handle. I've run in blistering heat, freezing cold, pouring rain, and gusty winds. I'm ready for anything this race can throw at me. The hardest challenge will be the internal struggle with my left brain, so I chose to focus on that. Any other challenge I'm forgetting? 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mental Tour of the Marathon

In our Galloway Training Programs textbook, Jeff Galloway suggests having a mental rehearsal of your race as often as you can to practice tackling any challenge you may face during the race. By tackling them over and over in your mind, they won't seem so bad on race day. I did this before for a duathlon, mentally practicing the transitions to ensure I didn't forget anything. It seemed really important for multi-sports events because of all the moving parts, but I've never done it for a running only event. I thought I would give it a try this time and write it out here. I'll be curious to see how this resembles the race report after the race :)

EDIT - I realize this is a best case scenario, but I really do not feel there is any challenge I can't handle. I've run in blistering heat, freezing cold, pouring rain, and gusty winds. I'm ready for anything this race can throw at me. The hardest challenge will be the internal struggle with my left brain, so I chose to focus on that Any other challenge I'm forgetting?
** Visualizing My Marathon Race Day **

I wake up before the alarm goes off because I did not slept as well as I hoped. That is ok, because I got plenty of sleep the previous 2 days. I use the restroom and check the weather one last time to confirm my race outfit is appropriate. The temperature at this early hour is in the low 50s. I step outside to get a feel for how cold it is and shiver. I am not a fan of cold weather, but I know this is the perfect weather for my race and that I must resist the urge to overdress. I put on my race outfit: running skirt, knee high compression socks, short sleeve shirt, and "wanna race?" bondi band. I step outside one more time and debate whether I should wear my arm warmers or windbreaker jacket. I decide to bring them along just in case, but plan to leave them in the car before the race. I grab a garbage bag in case I need something to keep me a little warmer before the race starts if we can't find parking nearby.

We get to the race site early and find a parking spot near the start. I step outside of the car and it is still a bit cold for my liking; I try to remember how warm I will be later in the race if I wear more layers, and how uncomfortable I will feel having the extra clothes I've shed weighing me down. While I typically do not warm up for longer races, I decide to do a very gentle warm up jog to assure my body it won't freeze if I don't put on more layers :) It works like a charm and I head to the starting corrals.

I meet up with my running group an we exchange nervous laughter. We take a group photo to remember what we looked like before we began this journey, wish each other luck, then walk to our respective starring corrals. Since I have a specific goal and pace strategy in mind, I line up near the 5:00 hour pace group as a point of reference, but I do not intend to stay with them. I will run my own race.

The count down begins and it's not long before we have blast off and runners in front of me begin shuffling forward. I conserve my energy and walk towards the starting mat with my finger hovering over the start button on my watch. As soon as I step on the mat, I hit the button on my watch, start my interval timer, and begin my first run interval. It's not hard to hold back the pace here because of the crowded start. I run towards the edge to be in place for my first walk break and not get in anyone's way. The first 2 minutes go by quickly and I begin my first walk break. Of course I do not need it yet, but I know the importance of sticking to my plan from the very beginning. The 1 minute comes just as quickly and now I'm running again. I'm enjoying seeing the sunrise over the water and the sea of runners, some of which are wearing space-themed costumes. I soak it all in and don't let myself get carried away by the pace of others passing me -- I know I will pass them during the 2nd half of the race.

We are already at mile 4 and I'm feeling great. I eat my first gel at the nearest water stop and continue cruising along, slowly inching my average pace under 12 min/mile by mile 5. I continue to fuel like clockwork every 3-4 miles, and I enjoy the whimsical themed water stops along the way. I'm still running with my 2/1 interval, conserving energy for the later challenging miles, while picking up the pace ever so slowly with each passing mile. By mile 11, my pace is near 11:45 and I'm right on schedule still feeling good. I finish the first half feeling great and get a mental boost when I flirt with Jason; he came to the course to cheer me on after finishing a very speedy half marathon. I get a kick out of making funny faces as he takes my picture, and I'm giddy with laughter from the silliness. I'll hang on to this feeling when I need a boost later on in the race.

By mile 19, my average pace is 11:30 and the battle between my body and my brain begins. I am not going to let my left brain win, so I focus on my form and breathing and push ahead. My body hurts and I'm tired, but I am still in high spirits because I know I'm going to meet my goal if I just dig deep. I just have to want it bad enough, and I really really want it! By mile 24, my body wants to quit but I've somehow managed to still speed up enough to have an average pace of 11:20. Walking is becoming more difficult now, so I walk just long enough to catch my breath from the run segments then slow jog the rest before picking up the pace again during the run segments. I know that I am very close and letting my body slow down will only prolong the suffering, so I dig deep and push as hard as I can during each of the running segments. It hurts, but I know that I am not hurt, and that I have more to give just like I did during that last 31 mile run. I remember the conversation with Kirsty and Stephanie that got me through those last few tough miles and I smile. I let out primal screams every time I run, but it feels oddly good to push through the pain.

I am nearing the finish line now. I can hear the crowd cheering, and I begin to get emotional because I'm about to finish my 2nd marathon and meet my goal. Even though I don't think there is any way I can possibly run any faster, I somehow find it within me to sprint across the finish line as I hear my friends screaming my name. I'm spent and I burst into tears. I've done it! I have the medal around my neck, and the beach towel around my shoulders. I stumble around with blurry vision and find Jason who is beaming at me. I throw my arms around him and give him a very sweaty hug and cry, "I did it!" Then I start thinking about my next race ;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Recovery & Sickness

#1 - Running / Recovery: Recovery from Sunday's half is going well.  The ice bath on Sunday really helped, as did wearing my compression shorts/socks on Sunday and during the train ride home on Monday. My legs feel fine, but my glutes/hips are still a bit sore. I've been using biofreeze and The Stick, and did a bit of yoga after my run this morning. This morning's run was tough. I woke up with a headache and seriously considered going back to sleep, but I knew my group was expecting me. After my warm up, there were none of them in sight and I was once again reconsidering my choice, but then 2 showed up and we headed for the hills. Perhaps hill repeats 2 days after a race was not the best idea, but the pace was easy and I did find. I could tell I am not fully recovered because it felt like I was exerting a lot more effort than usual to just maintain a 12 min pace. It was also absurdly humid, so that didn't help, and then it rained on us for the last mile. At least I got it done, and that is all that matters.

#2 - Sick? I've felt crappy all day. That headache I woke up with overstayed its welcomed and hung around all day along with an upset stomach. I managed to make it through lunch at work (a smoothie because it's all I could stomach) but had to head home after my last meeting at 2 pm and promptly took a 3 hour nap. I felt a bit better when I woke up, but still not like myself and I am still feeling a little off. I think eating restaurant food for 4 days straight, plus half a package of goldfish on the train ride home, did a number on me because my body is not used to that much sodium. Hopefully a good night's sleep tonight will fix everything :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Marathon 2 Training - Week 24 Recap

This was another great week as I eased into taper. It took a toll on me mentally for a few days, but lots of yoga and a big half marathon PR yesterday helped defuse it. I'm a little sore today, mainly my hips and glutes, but I'll be wearing my compression gear on the train to further help recover today.

Yesterday's race was a great confidence boost for the marathon. I have so much I've yet to tap into, and I'm really looking forward to giving it all I have at Space Coast and then working on my speed for shorter races. In the meantime, I'm ready to relax these next 2 weeks and coast down the home stretch to race day.

Last week's stats:
  • ran 22 miles
  • walked 10 miles
  • 6 yoga sessions / 2 h 45 min
  • total: 32 miles; 10 hours
This week's goals:
  • run 15-20 miles
  • 5 yoga sessions/1.5 hours
  • eat as cleanly as possible - cook at home and minimize processed foods. 

Race Report: 13.1 Fort Lauderdale

My 10th Half Marathon is done, and I find it fitting that I finally finished with an average pace that starts with 10 -- barely but I'm very proud of my 10:59 pace and a PR by over 4 minutes! Now my 2011 PR collection is nearly complete, so Space Coast better watch out because I'm coming! Before we get into specifics, here's the stats:
  • Garmin: 13.2 miles in 2:23:59 @ 10:54 pace
  • Clock: 02:26:10
  • Chip: 02:24:00 (might actually be 02:23:57)
  • Overall Place: 1491 / 2147
  • Gender Place: 626 / 1056
  • Division Place: 112 / 171
  • Age Grade: 46%
  • Pace: 10:59.0
  • 10K Split: 1:11:16
Pre-race: I woke up an hour earlier than I planned, but knew I'd be groggy if I went back to bed so I just stayed up and got ready ever so slowly. By 5 am, we were on our way to the race start but traffic was lite and we got there nearly 50 minutes early. I was disappointed that it did not feel cold at all when I stepped out the front door, but once we got to the beach the wind helped make it feel cooler. We parked near a hotel, so I was able to use the restroom there before heading to the start. I ran a slow mile to warm up, and immediately noticed how humid and warm it was and it was only 6 am. I was glad I chose to wear a singlet instead of sleeves. I made my way to the starting coral, lined up behind the 2:20 sign and it wasn't long before we were on our way.

The Course: Gorgeous course along the beach, which was a double edged sword as the beautiful view brought with it strong cross winds for nearly the last 8 miles. The first 4 miles included a few short hills, a tunnel, and a short steep bridge. As soon as we got to the bottom of the bridge and turned left, the winds began with a vengeance. I loved the out and back course because I got to see the elites finishing.
The Race: I was having some tummy issues at the beginning, and was really warm, so the first few miles were a bit rough but then I found my groove.  My pace was increasing a tad faster during the first 4 miles, but I was feeling good so I thought I might be able to finish faster than planned. That all changed once we turned onto A1A and the battle of the winds began. I was still on pace and picking up speed each mile, but not nearly as fast as before. I kept hoping that pushing through the headwinds meant I'd have a tailwind after the turn around to propel me to the finish, but it was actually a cross wind and it never really stopped. The few minutes when it did stop were just as bad because then you could feel the heat and humidity.

After the turn around at 8.5 miles, I dug deep and worked hard to maintain my negative splits and meet my goal. During those last few miles, I took the opportunity to work on my form and breathing, and to practice mental strength. With a little concentration, those 2 hard minutes flew by and I was cruising. Around mile 11, I switched to 3/1 intervals (was using 2/1 from the beginning) and started cutting the the walk breaks short by substituting the last 30 seconds with a slow jog. I ran the last 1/2 mile straight digging deep and using a 1 minute slow jog in place of the last walk break. I was careful to keep my stride short when sprinting and increased my cadence instead to make sure I didn't injure my hamstring. I was spent and a little sore when I finished, but overall feel great. You can see my progression in the pics below. The first one was around mile 4, then mile 12, then the final sprint.

 

Pacing Strategy: I executed my negative splits strategy flawlessly. The individual mile splits were a little off, mainly because the tunnel threw a wrench into things where I lost the signal and then the GPS made up for it when I got out so miles 2 and 3 are totally wrong, and I adjusted for the hills/bridges/water stops as appropriate. But when you look at the pivotal points, it was perfect and just like I predicted in yesterday's post:
  • 11:25 avg pace by mile 5
  • 11:13 avg pace by mile 10
  • slowly ticked away at that to bring it home in under 11 by the skin of my teeth. 
What is more telling though is to look at the 2 halves and the last 5K where I simply had to push to make this happen:
  • 1st half = 11:22 avg pace
  • 2nd half = 10:26 avg pace
  • last 10K = 1:04:09 (10:22 pace) - My 10K PR is 1:06:20!
  • last 5K = 30:48 (9:56 pace) - My 5K PR is 30:26
  • last 2 miles = 9:57 ea
  • final sprint = 7:54
Only by having a negative split strategy could I pull this off. I conserved energy at the beginning, listened to my body when I needed to adjust the walk breaks, and then had enough left to push so hard at the end. 

Nutrition: I ate 1 shot block at 2 miles, 1 at 4.5 miles, 2 at 6.5 miles, 2 at 8.5 miles and a gu roctane at 10.5 miles. Oh, and some strawberries near mile 11 :) Sipped water at nearly every water stop. That's my other complaint. The water cups were so full and I always feel wasteful only drinking half.

Post-Race: The finish line was at the beach, and it was gorgeous. The headed us a towel that was like a wet nap to freshen up. I kept walking because I didn't want my legs to tighten up. My only complaint about this race was the food tent. They had the typical post-race fare of bananas and such, but also rice, chicken and beans. These were both under the same tent and you had to stand on the same line for both. I didn't really want to stop moving or eat something that heavy, so I really wish they had a separate table for those that just wanted to grab a banana. Instead of hanging around, I found my support crew and we walked 2 miles back to the car then went to a local dinner to refuel. As soon as I got home, I sat in an ice bath for 20 minutes then put on compression pants and socks. I feel pretty good, but I don't want to take any chances so I'm doing all I can to speed up recovery.

  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ft Lauderdale 13.1 Pre Race Thoughts

I'm running his race as a training run to practice my marathon race pace strategy, but I still plan to do my best and shoot for a slight PR. A few facts to support my goal to PR tomorrow while not jeopardizing my marathon training:
  • I set my half marathon PR of 2:28 (11:19 pace) almost 1 year ago, after coming back from an injury and before I began doing any speed work. 
  • This training cycle has been amazing, filled with consistent and purposeful runs including hills and speed.
  • My target marathon race pace (11:15) will actually be a half marathon PR without the need to go all out. (See why I keep freaking out about this marathon goal?) 
  • I will pay close attention to my body and will pull back if anything doesn't feel right because I am keeping my eye on the the prize so I can do my best at my A race: the marathon.
Ok, enough caveats; let's get specific.
  • My primary goal is 2:24 (sub-11 pace) or anything sub-2:28 for a PR. 
    • pacing strategy: 11:30 or slower through mile 5, speed up to 11:15 by mile 9, then bring it home at sub-11.
  • I considered shooting for 2:21 (10:45 pace)
    • This is what I'll need to run for the 2nd half of the marathon to meet my goal with my chosen negative splits strategy, but I'm terrified of hurting myself. 
    • If the weather is perfect and I feel amazing, I may naturally run that pace, but I don't want to focus too much on it. 
  • A sub 11-pace is already faster than my 4:55 (11:15 pace) marathon goal, but per my magic mile I am capable (under perfect conditions) of: 
    • 4:46 (10:56 pace) for a marathon and 
    • 2:12 (10:06 pace) for a half marathon, 
    • so I am confident that an 11:00 pace is a safe goal. 
Let's see what happens :) 

Track Me:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chill Day on a Train


Happy Veteran's Day to my dad and all those who fought for our country.

Today was a pretty chill day. We had the day off from work, so I got to sleep in until almost 8 am! :) I started the day with an hour of yoga, and really tried to focus on enjoying it and letting everything else melt away. It was wonderful!

We took the train to Fort Lauderdale for my race this Sunday and spend the weekend with Jason's parents. I love traveling by train. It's usually cheaper than flying and driving. The seats are huge, with plenty of leg room, easy to sleep in, and they have power outlets. The train ride is 5 hours, only 1 more than it would take us to drive, but it is a lot more enjoyable and relaxing.

Tomorrow, other than packet pickup, I have a whole lot of nothing planned. But I really wish the race was tomorrow because I'm getting really antsy to run already! :)


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Three Things Thursday: Run, Yoga, Taper

Running - I had a great run this morning with my group. My goal was race pace (11 min/mi) with 2:1 intervals to remind my legs how to do that for Sunday's race. We actually ran a tad faster than that (10:45), but kept it short and it felt great. It was the confidence booster I needed and got me out of my nervous funk. Bring on this half! I'm ready!

Yoga - I've been rocking yoga all week. I've done at least 15-20 each day, even on the bus :) I'm up to 5 sessions, for a total of almost 2 hours. It's really helping me stay loose and calm me down. My Marathon Stick has also been my best friend this week to roll my hamstrings, quads, and calves at least once a day.

Taper Madness Update - I actually feel better and much calmer since writing that taper madness post. Nervousness has been replaced with ridiculous excitement for Sunday's race. It always helps to vocalize your fears/doubts and reassure yourself that you've done all you can, and that others feel the same. Thanks for all the encouraging words.

I may have figured out a way to carry my phone for the marathon. I'm going I try it next week and see how it goes because I'll need all the encouragement I can get when I'm digging deep during that second half, and I'll also have a camera if I want it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fun Races

I've got writer's block, so here are a few photos from some of the funnest races I've done, in no particular order. This is not an exhaustive list, just a sampling. (Edit: This post should really be called "Running in Costume" but there are a few where I didn't. But the fact remains, if you want more fun, run in a costume :))

My Running Family @ Watermelon 5K 2010
Watermelon 5K with my Parents - ran whole race with mom
After the race with our well-earned medals!
Halloween Half Marathon - where my love for running skirts began
exhausted but still smiling because I still think I can run up the stairs. ha!
Firefighter Challenge - hardest 11 minutes of my life
Muddy Buddy Orlando
Muddy Buddy Orlando - was so fun to dress up
Duck Duck Goose is ready to go!
UCF Adventure Race -Just Something Different: Bike, Run, Canoe, Ropes

Post-Race Lunch
BCM Relay - Doing this as a family was priceless!

Post Race Photo Shoot
Iron Girl Half Marathon - being all girly and geocached during the race

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Taper Madness

One week into taper, and the madness is starting to creep in. I'm not afraid of the distance. I know I'm more than ready to cover the distance, but having a time goal increases my anxiety. (For contrast, read what I wrote during taper for my 1st marathon.) I know I've trained for this, but since I respect the distance I know that anything can happen during 26.2 miles. I'm actually more nervous of not making it to the start line, so I feel like I'm walking on egg shells these next 3 weeks.
  • I've been doing yoga religiously and stretching/icing as needed immediately after every run. In fact, this week I plan to take a later bus to work if needed just so I have time for a post-run stretch. And I've been doing yoga on the bus and bus stop more than usual.
  • I'm terrified of getting hurt doing something stupid before this marathon that I refuse to even get on a bike for fear of slipping on a pile of leaves (yes it has happened) and breaking my knee.
  • I ask Jason, at least once a day, "is it race day yet?" :)
  • I'm insane jealous of everyone who ran a marathon this weekend and I'm anxious for it to be my turn.
  • I keep freaking out that I haven't done enough speed work (I skipped a few due to mild injury or recovery or taper) but I'm also afraid of overdoing it so close to race day so I play it safe.
  • I constantly worry that a sub-5 hour marathon is too ambitious, so I redo the math to confirm it is indeed conservative and I could push harder if I wanted. I probably look at my pace chart at least once a day.
  • I think about, and try to discuss with Jason daily, what I should wear on race day (this goes double for this weekend's race too!). It's important! I have to look cute AND be comfortable for 5 hours. =P
  • I keep debating whether I should carry my phone during the marathon. Even though I'll have my dad's Garmin to help pace me, I'd love to have my splits posted to Facebook periodically and be able to hear/read your encouragement while on the course. But I really do not want to run with my fuel belt and carrying it on my skirt would drive me crazy. Arg!
  • I really should stop reading NYC marathon race reports because, while very inspiring, most are about how challenging the race was and it makes me start thinking about worse case scenarios for my own race. 
I am sure there is more, but that is all that comes to mind right now. All I can really do at this point is take a deep breath (hence all the yoga) and trust in my training. I KNOW I can do this, and if I don't meet my goal is not the end of the world; it will be due to reasons beyond my control (and I hate when I'm not in control), but I'll be happy as long as I do my very best.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marathon 2 Training - Week 23

The first week of taper went well and I logged 19 miles of running over 4 days. I may have over done it a little bit on the pace on some of those runs, but I'm being diligent with the yoga and everything feels good. The madness started setting in over the weekend, and I am sure Jason wants marathon day to be here just as much as I do :) Coming up this week, 2 short runs and some walking to/from the bus, then we head down to Fort Lauderdale on Friday for the half marathon. More about my race goals and how to track me later in the week.

Last week's stats:
  • ran 19 miles
  • walked 11 miles
  • 4 yoga sessions (78 minutes)
  • total: 30 miles; 8.5 hours
This week's goals:

  • run 20 miles
  • 5 yoga sessions/1.5 hours
  • half marathon PR

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New York City Marathon

Today I spent the day spectating the New York City Marathon from my couch. It was incredibly  inspiring to watch the elite runners attempt to break course and world records. The weather was apparently the best it's been in years.

The women's race, who started 30 minutes before the rest of the field, was intense. I watched in awe as this women broke off from the pack around mile 2 and ran the entire marathon by herself with a 2 minute lead until the last 10K when 2nd and 3rd place started bridging the gap. Once they were within view, you knew it was going to be an exciting finish as none were going down without a fight. They eventually passed her with a mile to go, and she ended up in 3rd place.

It was heartbreaking to watch, but so inspiring to see their focus and resolve. The leader simply did not have anything left for a final push once they caught up to her, but the other 2 had fresher legs from starting at a slower pace and drafting off each other, so they were able to dig deeper to win. This is exactly why I always stick to a negative splits strategy. The men's race was even better as the pack stayed together well after the halfway mark and it was anyone's guess who'd surge ahead or when. With about 10K to go, the winner broke off and easily won the race with negative splits, and he shattered the course record.

After the broadcast of the elite's finished, I followed my friends' progress online and cheered them on. I hope my positive vibes helped them run strong! :) Seeing and hearing the crowds cheer on the runners made me a little emotional and I can't wait to experience this myself in 2012 or 2013. I am applying to the lottery for the 3rd time this year, but if I do not get in I'm guaranteed entry in 2013. I'm pumped for my marathon in 3 weeks and getting antsy. It's a good thing I have a half marathon next weekend to distract me a little bit longer :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Busy Day

It's been a very busy and productive day. It started at 5 am and just now at 7 pm am I getting around to writing about it.

I got to sleep in for a Saturday and ran with my group at 6 am. Yes, that is sleeping in for us :) It was pretty cold for us Floridians, around 55º, so I had to break out the arm warmers and wind breaker, but I still wore a running skirt. I shed the jacket within the first 2 miles, but never the arm warmers. The temps felt awesome once I warmed up and I was shocked to see we ran 8 miles at my target marathon race pace (11:15) without really trying. We even threw in some hills at the end. It was a solid run with great company and it felt great!

I paired the skirt with Saucony Elite compression knee high socks because I wanted to test them out during a run (instead of for recovery). I read some reviews that they were not tight enough to stay up, but they didn't budge for me. I was more concern that they were too thin and my feet would slide around my shoes, but that was not a problem either. I love these socks because they keep my legs warm without making my feet hot, and they feel wonderful with just the right amount of compression. I think I'll wear them during the marathon since it will be a bit cold at the start and they make my legs and feet feel awesome.

I forgot to eat anything during the 8 miles, so was starving at the end. As soon as I got in my car I devoured a banana and half a luna bar. After a quick stop at Target, I took the time to do almost 20 minutes of yoga to make sure I'd recover well from this run since I pushed harder than I intended and I have a race in a week. I finished refueling after a warm shower with some eggs, then began to tackle the laundry. It was a marathon laundry session today, including sheets, bedding, towels and a ton of running gear. (Laundry tip: to help your clothes dry faster on a lower setting throw a dry clean towel in the dryer. It soaks up the moisture from the wet clothes. I'm always amazed at how well this works, specially when drying other towels or bedding that always seem to come out damp otherwise.)


I spent the morning between loads of laundry tracking my running group as they ran the Savannah Rock n Roll half and full marathons. Everyone did a great job! I also got to play along from home with others who were doing the Urban Dare this year. It was fun to look up the clues for them, and they seemed to have a great time.

My sister and her kids went to Lake Eola for the Fiesta in the Park and stopped by after while I was making dinner (Quiche!). The kids are getting so big! I love that they both love lego and she recognizes them right away (I have some on my fridge) though she still refers to them as blocks. Bella eventually stop begin shy and asked to play with them, but I think her dad had more fun building a taser lol It was a fun afternoon and the perfect end to a great day. We ended the evening with Quiche, Mythbusters, and homemade ice cream. Tomorrow will be another lazy day as I track others from my group at the New York City Marathon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Writing Process

Today I'm going to answer a few questions and prompts about my writing process. 

When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer? (NaBloPoMo prompt) 

I prefer to write on a computer because I am a bit of a perfectionist and I constantly edit everything I write. Everything you see posted here has gone through many revisions, and sometimes rewritten from scratch. There are times when the feel of putting pen to paper is nice, but I don't care for my handwriting and I don't feel I can write nearly as fast as I can type. If I were to write by hand, I'd probably use a pencil because I can erase it quickly, but I do like the feel of writing with a pen much better than a pencil.

What is your favorite part about writing? (NaBloPoMo prompt) 

My favorite part is when I start writing a piece without much direction, only a vague idea, and in the process of rambling I have an epiphany and the post writes itself. This blog gives me an outlet to process the crazy thoughts a runner deals with during intense training, and most importantly a place to share my struggles with others going through the same thing. It's therapy for me, and hopefully inspiration and motivation for others. Knowing that jotting down my thoughts could help someone else get through a rough patch or be the catalyst that finally gets them on the path to fitness motivates me everyday.

Your blog posts are very well-written and photographed. How long, on average, does it take you to write one of them? And do you have any tips to make the process easier? (from Rachel) 

Thanks Rachel! :) This varies greatly, but I would say a minimum of an hour. Even what may seem like a simple post, usually goes through several iterations once I actually start writing, but I often spend time researching too if it's something more involved. It may not be research in the academic sense, but I may need to pull stats from my own fitness data to illustrate a point, or find just the right photo for the post. Photography is one of my other hobbies, one I've been neglecting lately, so that makes it a little easier if I can just find a photo within my collection or go snap one quickly. 

A few tips:
  • I try to use the weekends to begin drafting several posts, but I rarely finish them ahead of time and queue them. I find that I always have last minute changes or if they are not that time sensitive they'll get posted later if something "newsworthy" happened that day that I would rather blog about. 
  • When I get an idea for a topic, I'll begin a new draft and at least post an outline of what I'd like to cover with links to any supporting material I may want to include. 
  • Sometimes I get overwhelm by everything I want to say, such as when writing a race report, that I get writer's block and can't get it written for days or even weeks. What usually helps is to just start writing fragments and details, without much thought to how everything flows. Eventually those fragments fill the page enough that the gaps don't seem so big. I can quickly narrow the gaps and before I know it the post is done. 
  • I try to remember that not every post has to be lengthy or profound. Sometimes jotting down some bullet points is enough to get me going for a more in depth post or there are enough items to just make a list post.
  • I use relevant memes to help me draft a quick post in a pinch, such as Friday Five or Three Things Thursday.
  • Lastly, I also use Evernote to collect topic ideas and write drafts while on the bus using my iPhone. It's nice because I can then access those notes from any device. 
Got a question or topic you'd like me to address in an upcoming post? Leave me a comment!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Things Thursday - Running and Eating

#1 - Running Bonds - I love how running brings people together. Last night I met a friend for a fun run and dinner who I've only known online, but because we share a love for running as well as similar fitness journeys, it felt like I was hanging out with old friends. We've been motivating each other via Dailymile and Facebook for a long time, and it was nice to finally meet in person. I love how comfortable it felt, and it was nice to enjoy a fun run then share race stories over a meal.

#2 - Short Work Day - We had a half day at work today because UCF has a home game tonight and they needed us out of the parking lot. Since we would spend almost as much time on the bus as we would be at work, we drove. I got to sleep in, do 30 minutes of yoga, go out to breakfast and still be the first one at work. I got to enjoy a relaxing afternoon at home and great solo run tonight.

#3 - Taper Nutrition - I planned to eat really clean the entire month of November in preparation for this marathon, but only 3 days in is already not going so well. The abundance of Halloween candy everywhere is making it difficult, and I've already gone out to eat a few times, but I'm still going to do my best to limit my intake of processed foods (which I don't eat all that often anyway) and cook at home as much as possible. I want to feel great and full of energy come race day, so I need to put premium fuel in my body if I expect it to perform at its best. Maybe I'll be a little lighter too :) I've been hovering under 125 lately, which is about as low as my body likes to go, and I'd like to keep that way or maybe even shed a pound or two before then. Not eating meat makes this so much easier.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Recovery after 50K Training Run

I was amazed at how good I felt after running over 30 miles on Saturday. What seemed like unending pain during the last few miles of that run, was almost gone as soon as I stopped. The usual lingering soreness remained, but it only lasted about a day. In fact, I felt better after this run than my 26 miler 4 weeks earlier. The main difference this time was the ice bath, but I think it's worth noting everything that may have contributed.

  • Ran most of the 30 miles at an easy training pace (13+) using 1:1 intervals. I did the same for 26, but I remember getting cut up at one point with those that were running short and speeding up early on before I realized I still had double digit miles to go. This time I ran a steady easy pace the whole time.
  • Walked an entire mile after the run before getting in my car and driving home. This was partly because I wanted to cross that 31 mile mark, but it actually felt really good to just let my legs cool down and loosen up. Thankfully my ride home is not very far.
  • Sat in an ice bath for 20 minutes as soon as I got home. I never thought I would do this because I am a wuss when it comes to cold, but I also never thought I would run 20+ miles in the rain. You do a lot of things on your never list when you train for a marathon and it doesn't phase you. The ice bath was actually nowhere near as bad as I expected and I will certainly be doing it again.
  • Spent the rest of the day, about 8-10 hours, wearing my compression capris and socks. I've been doing this after most of my runs since I bought them, but usually only for an hour or two while I iced. 
  • Spent the majority of those hours relaxing in bed, watching tv, with legs elevated. My knees and ankle joints on top of the foot where the most sore.
  • When I finally took off the compressing off before bed, I put on biofreeze on tender areas.
  • Did an hour of yoga the following day. The fact that I was even motivated to do this is amazing. I'm usually too sore to even try it.
  • Had a 90 minute massage the following afternoon. I've been getting hour massages after every long run (20+ miles) all season, but I think this one went even better because I wasn't as sore and I had an extra half hour to enjoy it. 
  • Leading up to this run, I took care of my body all week. My hamstring had been bothering me, so I iced it after every run, use my heat pad, and used the stick all week. It didn't bother me at all during the entire 30+ miles or after.
  • Went for a short walk on Sunday and Jason had to tell me to slow down. That's how good I felt but it helped to continue my recovery because I had a great run on Tuesday without any soreness.
I'll be following this place after the marathon to ensure quick recovery. What else do you do to recover after a long run or race?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 2011 Recap

October was an amazing month. I had 2 great marathon+ long runs and 2 race PRs. I ran 129 miles! That is most I've ever run in 1 month and 27 more than last month. That puts me at 735 total for the year so far, and with 2 months to go I've already exceeded my 2011 goal. I wonder if I can make it to 900 :)

NaBloPoMo 2011November is going to be just as awesome because it is marathon month! I'm beyond excited! I am officially on taper, so I'll be taking it easy for the next 4 weeks. I'll probably go a little nuts, but I'm happy 3 am wake up calls are behind me ... for now :) I have a half marathon in 2 weeks, which I'll use as a tune up race to practice my marathon race pace (which will still be a half marathon PR for me), so that will give me something to obsess over in the meantime :)


I'm once again going to blog every day this month as I did during the previous taper because it was a great way to keep me distracted, give me a venue to let out the crazy, and document the process. So if you have burning questions for me or topics you'd like to see me address this month, please comment and help distract me :)

Stats & Goal Progress (83%)
  • ran 129 miles; 735/700 (Goal Exceeded!)
  • biked 35 miles; 846/2000 (42%)
  • walked 42 miles; 325/400 (81%)
  • yoga/core/strength = 12 sessions; 4.2 hours
  • total = 206 miles; 47.5 hours; 1906/3100 (61%); 361/365 (99%)
October Accomplishments
Goals for November
  • taper! :)
  • NaBloPoMo - blog daily 
  • sub-2:25 half marathon
  • sub-5 hour marathon 
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