Friday, October 29, 2010
This week has been what most training plans call Zero Week in terms of running, where you pretty much just recover all week. The only things I have done are take a few longer walks with the dog, some weights, and get myself feeling back to normal.
It took me until Thursday to feel 100% normal- not tired, unusually hungry or not hungry, and no more lingering pains. By Tuesday I felt good, but still had some pain in my right knee, it didn't scare me much since I knew that knee took more of a beating than the other one, so I just kept icing it and left it alone. By last night I had gone all day without it hurting, so I declared myself recoverd :) I am still not planning to run until Monday, but to be honest I think that is more by circumstance than by choice.
I got super lucky when planning out my October. Having the week following my marathon be the busiest week of the year with preparing to host a 25+ person party tomorrow has certainly forced me to rest this week because I had so much else to do, that I did not feel tempted to go out and run before I should. I am looking forward to getting back into my routine on Monday, and getting my mileage back up.
For those unfamiliar with the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (aka the Florida/Georgia game) you can read about last year's experience here.
This game has always been special for our family because it is a divided household, but it makes it so much fun, and must attend event every year. As you can imagine, being the home town sponsor for said event is kind of like training for a marathon, you put in a lot of time and preparation into everything for just 1 day.
So the last couple nights have consisted of a lot of this...
Feeding and drinking 25 outdoors is no small task, needless to say we have been making sure we had everything ready to go ahead of time just in case we needed to make further accomodations.
Last night with everything else ready to go, I finally got my butt into the kitchen to start on the food portion of the program. These little babies are SO fun and super easy...
Any excuse I can get to make them I do. I think I actually need more cookie cutters in my life, oh the fun I could have! My baking self stayed up waaay too late last night trying to get through everything, but I feel super awake today, I think it is all the lingering excitement!
I hope everyone has a great weekend, good luck to all those racing this weekend, I know there are a lot of Halloween races going on! See ya Sunday with a recap!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
So there are a lot of things that I have been thinking about and gotten questions about so I figured I would share. Beware this is another long one:)
The Race: So I will start by saying that if you didn't catch the subtle hints from my race recap about what a catastrophe this race was, then well, I don't know what to say- it was a Catastrophe!!!!
-Expo: Nothing impressive, I have gotten more things from a bigger 5k race than I did here.
-Safety: There was none! They had you running in the emergency lanes on open roads the entire race going teh same directon as the cars- not safe at all. There was zero traffic control, and no medical support either, lets just say they were VERY lucky that something bad did not happen.
-Sun/Wind: While the race director could not control the 20mph winds, he could have controlled the course to make at least 1 mile of it in the shade. All 26.2 miles were in direct sunlight, which definitely took it's toll on most of the runners and left me with some pretty horendous tan lines.
-Medals: While my medal is still intact because I have pretty much refused to touch it, many medas broke including Penny and Jaime's..
I really hate to be so negative, but this race was awful! Nothing was delivered upon and my low expectations were drastically under-met. I knew it would me a small no-frills race, but I did at least expect water and gatorade, this was a marathon after all, not just some small 5k race. I want to use this as a cautionary tale to all future marathoners: Pick a non-inaugural big race, it may be crowded, but at least you won't be left high and dry!
While I obviously missed my time goal, I can't complain about that too much considering all of the above. I know my next marathon can only get better, so I am really anxious to see what I could actually do in good conditions under competant race direction.
As for my non-time goals, here is how I fared:
-Finish Happy, Standing and with a Smile on my Face: Well I was happy to be done, I was standing, and while the smile was more of a grimace due to cramps in the last 200 yards, I think I took care of this one
-Stay Positive the entire race: Well I will say I stayed super positive the last 6 miles when the cramps started when I could have been nothing but a negative nancy, but I was my own biggest cheerleader the last few miles. I never actually hit "the wall" but if I had to pick my low point it would be somewhere between mile 10-11 after reaching the top of big hill #2 and feeling so beat up from the wind that I couldn't fathom how I would survive another 15 miles. I really wanted to stop, but after I decided at the half way point to abandon my 4:15, my positivity came back and it was smooth sailing until the end, so I give myself an A!
-Consistency: I would consider this one an epic fail! My fastest split was 9:04 and slowest I think 12:02, major inconsistency, However...My first half was super consistent in the 9:20-9:40 range for 13 miles with the exception of the 9:04, and the 2nd half was mostly at the 10:30 point with the exception of a few cramp-filled miles. I think I stayed consistent in each half given the situations, but would still consider this a major fail!!!
-No Walk Breaks: We all know how that ended, but there is always next time.
-Run the Tangents: Mission Accomplished!!!
26.28 Miles is about as close as you can get to 26.2. I knew I was focusing on the tangents, but I really didn't think I had done that well- go me!
What I Learned:
Every new situation always brings a learning experience and I learned a lot from this race.
-I am more positive than I thought
-I can run a marathon, and am a lot more capable that I give myself credit for
-And most importantly... do not ever register for a small or inaugural race ever again!!!
Weight: I actually had 3 separate people ask me about weight gain/loss during this training cycle and race, and while everyone is different and will vary, this is what I noticed:
-I weigh literally the exact same at the end of the race (day after) as I did the day I started training in June.
-I feel MUCH more flabby right now than I did when I started training 18 weeks ago.
Recovery: So while I still have 5 more days of this recovery nonsense, I feel good right now. My muscles seem back to normal, no extreme tightness or excruciating pain. My right knee is still unusually sore, but I attribute that to some itb inflammation from running only on the right side of a slanted road for 20+ miles, oh and hills- that's enough to piss off a knee and it band!
I may try to sneak in a short run this week just to make sure nothing is broken, but if I do it will be Thursday or Friday, I may hit spinning one day, but otherwise I have been given strict orders to rest this week, and hit the ground running again on Monday morning.
What's Next: So what's next???? Actual training picks up again on Monday, my coach and I have discussed a lot of options as far as what's up next for me and while some things are still up in the air, I will leave you with a good teaser of what is to come:
Monday 11/1: Resume Running (plan for 35-40 mile week)
Monday 11/8: Start 14 week training cycle
Saturday 11/21: Women's Running Magazine Half Marathon in St. Pete with Penny and Jaime
Thursday 11/25: Outback Distance Classic (Half-Marathon)
Who doesn't love a good Thanksgiving day race!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, John and I loaded up and headed through BFE to Apalachicola. We met Penny and Jaime at the hotel and headed to the ‘expo’ We proceeded to grill the race director a few times about many things that were unclear, drove the race course (which ended up being a blessing in disguise) and then headed into town for our pre-race pasta dinner.
I was not feeling great most of Friday, I had a lingering headache from Thursday, and just felt sluggish, but I was really trying to keep myself mentally psyched up, but felt like such a Debbie Downer because all I wanted to do was sleep. Despite that fact, I actually had a super hard time falling asleep, all the nerves and anticipation, and when I woke up an hour before my alarm, I could not fall back asleep, all I could do was think about my anticipated paces, when I should gel, etc.
The alarm finally went off and I started to get ready and eat, but about 1/2 way through my breakfast I could not eat any more- my stomach was crampy and full of knots, and I was not about to force down any more food. I got myself together and was ready to get out there, the weather was going to great at the start and a lot of the nerves were starting to fade leaving lots of excitement in it’s place.
Jaime, Penny, and I all headed down to the start line about an hour before the race started. John and his parents would see us out on the race course at several pre-planned spots.
It was 57* degrees when we got down to race start and it was very windy. We spent a while keeping warm in the car which we so luckily parked about 30 feet from the start/finish line. We hit the bathroom a few times, and then finally ditched the warm clothes about 20 minutes before the start. I also took a pack of sport beans then, to make sure I had plenty of energy to go.
To lay the setting for you, I will say that this is one of the smallest races of any size that I have ever done. There were only 800 people total (for 4 races) and only 200ish doing the full marathon. We literally walked up to the start line maybe 5 minutes before the start. The full marathon runners were in the first wave, and due to a conversation with the race director on Friday, we were told they were going off gun time not chip time so we literally parked ourselves on the starting mats with the super fast people.
As soon as the gun went off, I took of flying. I tried really hard to keep my pace under control but it was hard. We got to where the first turn was and I noticed that most of the leaders passed it and kept going straight. Since we had driven the course the day before, Jaime and I remembered the poorly marked turn and were among the first to make the right hand turn onto the course correctly. This turn put you onto the base of the first bridge that would take you out to the rest of the course. As we started up the bridge I worked to keep my pace under control and let people pass me. This was the shortest and most moderate of the 4 bridge inclines (read monster hills) that we would have to climb, and I felt good by the time we reached the top, my heart rate seemed fine, and my pace was in the lower 9:xx range, faster than I had wanted, but it was done now. I kept it REALLY slow on the downhill and managed to net a 9:08 first mile- the fastest mile of the whole race- FAIL!
To describe the course, it was a basic out and back that consisted of 2- almost 5 mile bridges. Each bridge had 1 major hill/incline at one end of it and the rest was relatively flat. The bridges were not closed to traffic, we were running in the emergency lanes which concerned me at first, but worked out fine once we were out there. The problem however that we were not anticipating was the 15-20mph winds that would be coming at us non-stop for the entire race.
After mile 1 I slowed it down perfect into my 9:35-9:40 range that I was planning to sit at until about mile 5. I felt ok during the first 5 miles, my legs seemed heavy instead of light and springy, but I was seeming to hit my paces fine, so I just chalked it up to too much rest and nerves and figured they would loosen up somewhere between miles 4-7. I was planning to gu at mile 4, but with no water station is sight I had to hold off until mile 5. I took the gu, my stomach felt great, and as we came off the first bridge and made the turn towards the 2nd I started to get into my groove, I felt like I was finally falling into my rhythm.
John was waiting at the base of bridge 2 with a water bottle at mile 6.4, we had asked him to be at the base of each bridge with water bottles since there wasn’t going to be much if any water over the long stretches of bridges. I noticed as I came up on where they were standing that it looked like they had been wrangled into working a water station there since the race was very short on volunteers. I waved, grabbed my water and kept on going. It was definitely a boost to see people I knew and it kept me in my stride, my middle miles here were in the 9:25-9:35 range and I was really pleased that my pace was progressing as I had hoped.
Once I hit mile 6.5, the half marathoners split from us to head back towards the end. At that point when we got onto the 2nd bridge, I felt the winds that had been semi-blocked by the larger crowd on the first bridge. The wind was torturous, it kept me cool I suppose, but it was constant, it was hard, and it was right in my face. I would describe it by telling you to turn a big standing fan on high and trying to run straight into it- not fun! I tried really hard to run as close to the bridge siding as possible because that at least took some of the impact from the wind and then I only had to fight it from about the hip up. At about mile 7 with a good 4 miles and mass incline still to go on this bridge my mental state started to falter. I thought about how many miles I still had to go, and how brutal it would be to have to fight the wind the whole way. At about mile 9 I got really discouraged, this was getting hard, my legs already felt tired, there had been no Gatorade on the course yet, and the sun was now out in full force. Despite all these mounting negatives, I was still about a minute ahead of pace at mile 10. That is where the next hill started.
Starting up the next hill, I knew it was make or break time right here at mile 10. I kept my head down and just kept pushing, I knew that the downhill would also come before I hit mile 11, so I knew even if I slowed down on the uphill I would be able to make it up on the downhill. Well I took all advice to just pump my arms, stay on my toes, keep my head down. I made it to the top a little tired, but as soon as it leveled off the wind got worse, I actually had to pay attention to make sure it didn’t blow me off the bridge. The downhill offered no help with the pace because the wind was basically negating all of my efforts to go faster, and as my Garmin beeped at mile 11 I saw my first mile over pace- 9:53, FAIL!
I knew 1 slow mile wouldn’t kill me, but I felt so discouraged that it came on a mile that should have been quick, my pace after the uphill was at 10:03, so how was it possible that I only gained back 10 seconds over a very long 1/2 mile downhill????? As we came off the bridge shortly after the mile 11 marker, I had John waiting for me with another water bottle. I was SO thankful that he had gone out for us with water, because I may have literally died without it. The water stations were running out of water/cups and had so few people that you often had to move off the course to grab water from the table.
Approaching the area where I would be passing the leader as we all started the turn back I kept my eyes open for Penny, I knew I would see her if she was on or ahead of pace. If I had been 15 seconds slower we would have missed each other, but I saw her as she was turning to go back over the bridge, and was SO excited to let her know that at that point she was the 3rd overall female!!!!! At that point I made another right turn to run along on the road closest to the beach, and the last mile and half stretch that would take me to the turn around point.
Another mental boost from seeing Penny, and I was still in range of my goal, but I needed to catch a break. I actually got excited that I was off the bridges and would have a good 3.5 miles with a break from the wind, boy was I wrong. Running so close to the beach, even though there were big houses along the road, the breeze was at it worst, I was baffled that it was so bad, and that it was effecting me so much, but it was. Right here at mile 12 is when I saw 9:59 and knew I was at the point where I needed to re-evaluate. I felt like the effort I was having to put in to hit a 9:40 mile was equal to what I would normally put in to hit a 9:00 mile.
Finally we turned around and I crossed the halfway mark. As we did I checked my Garmin and it was literally at 2:07:19, so I would have to have a perfectly even split (or negative) to hit 4:15, and at that exact second I threw away my time goal and knew I had to run my race on that course in these conditions, not my ideal course and conditions race. It took me about a mile to really get comfortable with this idea, but so many of the people around me were already walking and looked like they were struggling, and at that point I still felt physically in it, so I felt thankful. I made the turn after mile 14 to get back on the monster bridge, and grab another water bottle from John. I went ahead and told him he needed to not expect me until around 4:30, that the wind was just too bad, and I was already hurting.
I walked through the water station at the base of that bridge since once I was on it, it was an immediate and steep 1/2 mile uphill. That was my first walk break of the race. I made it up the bridge and passed several people who had to stop and walk, I just kept my head down again, and sucked it up. Downhill was non-impressive again, and after that the bridge flattened out and the wind came back. It was more of a cross/tail wind going back so not nearly as bad, but since this bridge curved and didn’t run an even north/south, when we curved it came back in my face again. I held my pace pretty well until mile 18 when I came off the bridge, I was still in the low 10:00s and was only walking through the water stations. I had only had Gatorade once at mile 12 and had not seen it the rest of the course. I grabbed 1 last water from John and mile 18 and asked him to make a change in plans and meet me at mile 23ish in the middle of the last bridge before the monstrous final hill at mile 25.
Miles 18-20 flew by getting from one bridge to the next on the mainland. I had lost many of the pacers/people I had been hanging with over the bridge, they were all somewhere behind me, so I found some new ones to hang in behind. I got back out onto the last bridge and watched as Garmie rolled over to mile 21. Honestly at this point when most people are hitting the wall, my mental state drastically improved. I was so happy and positive that I had 5 miles to go, and that I was in the low 10:xx range when I was running, 5 miles really seemed like nothing, and I knew it would hurt, it already did, but I knew I could do 5 miles, I had less than an hour to go, and I was so at peace and excited for the first point all day. But around mile 21, the cramps started. Due to loss of electrolytes/salt imbalance/hypernutremia? my legs started to cramp like crazy.
Only having Gatorade twice up until mile 21 was definitely the culprit, but it was out of my control, and at that point there was really nothing to do.
I took another gu at 21, it didn’t help. Every time my leg cramped up I had to walk it out. I hated that, but I really had no choice, the cramps made me pretty much immobile. What really killed me was when I was able to start running when the cramp passed, I was running at about a 10:15 pace which I felt good about considering everything else. As I kept going the cramps came closer and closer together, but I kept my head up, I knew I would make it, and I was still passing people some how, and as bad as I felt for them, I felt good that I hadn’t hit a wall and that I was still going. I really thought I would lose it mentally before I did physically, but it was the total opposite, my legs failed me out there and my mind kept me going, it was amazing how it works like that, and if nothing else I was SO proud of myself for sticking to my goal of keeping positive, I really did it, and for that I am elated!
John was there at about 23.5 where I begged for some Gatorade hoping it would kill the cramps and I could finish strong. It didn’t really help, but he told me to keep running, and I tried my hardest, I would literally run until my leg seized up and then walk until it stopped. I got to the base of the hill and took the same approach, except I made myself go at least 2 light posts running whether I had a cramp or not. I passed 4 people going up the bridge, that was a huge mental boost! As I reached the top there was an older man names Lester who I talked with. He said this was one of the worst marathons out of 30 that he had done, and it made me feel better that I wasn’t the only one with negative thoughts. He was walking and I urged him to run the downhill with me since we had less than a mile.
I hit the bottom of the hill with literally only .3m to go and got another cramp, I basically hobbled my way to the finish line. I was bummed I couldn’t lay it out and finish strong, but I kept running and felt so good that I didn’t give up and that I stayed so positive despite less than ideal conditions.
Finish Time: 4:38:43, average pace 10:36
So I missed my time goal, and yes it’s a bummer, but I am ok with it considering everything else. I was on pace until the half, and had a major positive split, but under the conditions, it was the best I had. You can bet I am already mentally onto the redemption marathon, because I know I can do better and have better in me. I have A LOT of other things to share about this race, how I am recovering, and what is next, but that I will get to in another post, this one needed to be for me, as a reminder of what I did, how hard I worked, and all the barriers I pushed through. Always remembering the day I became a Marathoner!
Post-race I hung out a bit with these lovely ladies before we all hit the road to head home. I had an amazing weekend with Jaime and Penny, make sure to check their blogs for their own race recaps. I am looking forward to racing with them again in just 4 short weeks!
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
This morning was my last run before the marathon- 3 Miles with 2 @ goal pace.... I follow directions ok, but this became 2 miles at goal pace and 1 well below it :)
3 Miles- 28:04, 9:22 pace
9:29, 9:28, 9:07
I had originally planned to just run at home and go on about my Wednesday morning, but yesterday afternoon I was exchanging some emails with my coach and he suggested I come do my run with his AM track group so he and I could talk about my race strategy and recovery plans once I was finished- I hopped on that bandwagon in an instant! Anyone who is naive enough to let me talk about the race and the 168465164632165 thoughts in my head is actually kind of dumb, but he volunteered! I feel good to have a plan in place that someone besides me agrees is smart, so with all that said, training and planning is done, and it's time for 48 hours of rest and panic, and then... RACE!!!!
Now... everyone talks about how you shouldn't have a time goal for your first marathon, and your goal should just be to finish- but if you know me at all, you know that is not even an option. I am an over-driven type-A who is super competitive, at least with myself, sometime others- and not having a goal would just not fly. Just finishing is not an option in this race (kind of like school wasn't an option, you just did it), I will finish, yes it will hurt, sure I may cry, but I know myself and I will finish this race or they will have to wheel me off on a stretcher.
However...I do understand that setting hard or unrealistic expectations for such a demanding challenge can be a huge let down which is why I have gone and given myself multiple goals (some even non-time related) so that way whenever I do finish I can be proud and excited about all the things I did accomplish.
Non-Time Related Goals First:
-Finish Happy, Standing, and with a smile on my face. I think that is all we can ever hope for
-Stay positive throughout the entire race. I know the pain will come at some point, and the best way to get through it for me is to not dwell on it and keep a positive attitude- so this is a major goal!
-Consistency. I have spent many hours reviewing splits from long runs and races and considering my tendencies and strengths. My thought is it will be so helpful (and distracting) to focus on keeping a consistent pace range.I would LOVE to see negative splits, but I am not naive, so I will focus on consistency!
-No walk breaks. This may seem a little harsh for a 1st marathon, and I may rescind this statement after Saturday, but I do not walk during my runs unless something is drastically wrong, it always hurts more when you start again, and I can never seem to go as fast as I was before, so I figure pain is better than prolonged pain, thus no walking!
-Run the tangents. This may seem like an obvious statement, but I am using it as one of my major distraction techniques. If I run too wide on the course, my Garmin may actually read 27.00 before I cross the finish line, and I would like to avoid as much extra distance as I can, so focuing on running the tangents hopefully will help to make sure I keep the distance as close to 26.2 as possible.
Time Related Goals:
- Goal A: 4:15:00 or less. This is what I trained for, and I am prepared to go for a 4:15. Assuming the sun, heat, or race director don't try to kill me, I think this is very realistic and attainable if I can mentally keep it together. HOWEVER...
I do realize that not everything can always be rainbows and sunshine and I have prepared myself that if things turn south to change my expectations based on the situation. I will not be disappointed if I don't hit 4:15 for a specific reason, such as bad weather or poisoned Gatorade, but I also know myself and that if it becomes obvious that my 4:15 is gone I will need to set a new goal to keep myself focused and motivated out there. To avoid Negative Nancy tendencies I am not going into my B and C level goals, because that would mean preparing for the worst, and I am putting all my energy right now into preparing for the best!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I went out for another run this morning, 4.5 miles, and while my legs seemed fine, my lungs acted like they were being abused, it was almost like a claustrophobic feeling, not at all what you expect when you go out for a cool run in the dark.
4.5 Miles- 41:42, 9:16 average pace
Mile 1- 9:38
Mile 2- 9:05
Mile 3- 8:57
Mile 4- 9:20
last .5- 4:42 (9:25 pace)
This was supposed to be an abbreviated tempo and it was ok, nothing too crazy, I wanted to remind my legs again what it was like to run fast, but not too fast. But I felt really out of it since my breathing was all wacky, it almost reminded me of how winded I used to get when I first started running, it really made no sense. I am not really putting much stock in this run, and it doesn't have me doubting anything, but I feel like I have rested far too much during this taper and that makes me worry that I have lost everything I put in early on. Don't worry, I won't go do anything crazy like try and run 20 miles tonight to see if I still can, but it leaves me a bit weary and thinking "have I really done enough in the last 5-6 weeks that my body will remember how to run for 4 hours without stopping"? I know everyone says its normal to have those doubts, but these don't seem like irrational fears, I feel like I have solid proof to back it up, making it seem all the more legitimate, oh well, too late now, what's done is done.
On a more cheery note I did spend a good hour yesterday on Google Earth dragging my little virtual man down the entire race course to check out the terrain, elevation changes, possibilities for my bike pacer, places to be afraid of, and to try and figure out how I plan to pace myself. There are some serious advantages on this course and in my opinion it would dumb not to take advantage of them, so I spent a while going through thinking about where I would hope to hit some faster times and where I would play it conservative.
On deck for tonight is finally getting around to making a new playlist, and starting the packing extravaganza, I was tempted to pull out the suitcase last night, but I with held in fear it would make me seem crazy. ANy good song suggestions for the playlist, I desperately need some new music!!!
Saturday, October 16, 2010
This morning I had my last long run on the schedule, it was supposed to be 8-10 miles at goal pace. We had a front move in yesterday to cool it off for the weekend, and it was a chilly 54* when I started my run at 6:45am!!!! I REALLY wish our race had been this weekend, because the perfect weather is not supposed to last past Monday, boo:(
I made an attempt at what I was hoping was another race outfit possibility today, well lets just say it was another wardrobe FAIL! I also tried putting my phone in my spibelt instead of just keys and gu. I was thinking if it didn't annoy me that I could race with it. So many people take pictures during the race and I thought that it could be fun, but after 1 miles I decided that it was not sitting right and unless I wanted to put the spibelt at my true waist which is practially my bra line, it was not going to work, so I turned around and ditched it at home at mile 2.
The first 4 miles total I found it harder to hit my goal pace, my lungs were kind of burning, and those 9:25 paces felt harder than any mile I ran during my half a few weeks ago. I decided that it was the cooler air and my lungs not being used to it. I felt great in the cold air, except my fingers, they got quite cold, but I would never bring out gloves in 50* weather.
8 Miles- 1:13:31, 9:11 average pace
Mile 1- 9:36
Mile 2- 9:29
Mile 3- 9:21
Mile 4- 9:05
Mile 5- 9:11
Mile 6- 8:54
Mile 7- 9:05
Mile 8- 8:46
So the run went really well, I was super happy with how I felt even though the paces seemed tough, they came pretty easy. The 5th and 6th mile (9:11 and 8:54) were the easiest miles by far and they weren't even the downhills. I almost wish I had done the 10 since I felt so good, but I will take a super quality 8 miler.
I definitely needed the confidence boost that came with such a good/fast run. I kept trying to slow down but all it did was drop from an 8:30 mile to a 8:55 mile, so hopefully my goal pace next weekend will feel smooth and easy.
Since this is pretty much the end of the road now, I spent my post-run time icing, taking a bath, stretch/roll, and giving myself a mini-pedicure. I am too afraid to let anyone else touch my feet right now, but they needed some attention, so I got rid of all the dead skin and updated my nail polish, fun! We are off to watch football tonight, and run a million errands tomorrow, good luck to all this weekend's racers, can't wait to read all the race recaps!!!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Last night I went out to do an easy 4-5 miles, and I had to stop at 4 because my calves were SO tight. Trying to stretch them mid-run was literally like trying to stretch a metal pole, there was just no way! Despite the awful calf cramps/pain/tension I managed a pretty good run. The goal was to keep it easy, and I was hoping for 2-3 miles at goal pace, especially since the weather was already getting nice last night- cool and breezy, and the sun was already going down at 6:30!!!!
4 Miles- 38:00 exactly:) 9:30 avereage pace
9:41, 9:35, 9:25, 9:19
I was actually really suprised that several times I looked at my watch I was below a 9:00 pace, and I figured that might be why my calves hurt, but I actually found the longer strides and quicker turnover helped more because my heel was less likely to hit the ground if I went faster, so hence the negative splits! I felt like I was going slow the whole time, but obviously not, I managed 3 quality miles 2 in my goal pace range, but I think speeding up helped disipate some of the pain and made the end of the run nice.
I rolled/stretched/iced when I got home, its really amazing how well those things actually work, if only I did them every time I ran ;)
So 1 week from right now I will be en-route to Apalachicola, scary right! It finally hit me when I got to work today and realized it was the weekend, that meant that next week is Race Week, the week I have been thinking about for months! Yesterday we had to send a co-worker home sick with an Upper Respiratory Infection- at least that's not contagious, but the cold that caused it is, so I am loading up on healthy things and healthy thoughts, I rarely if ever get sick, but when I do, it's bad, and it puts me down for a while, so I am not taking any chances. Hope everyone has an awesome weekend! Last long run tomorrow!!!!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
We are now at T-9 days until the marathon, and after my last track workout last night, and talking with my coach for a while I feel better and a big bundle of nerves all at once now that other people are all paying attention to my running.
So originally we were supposed to be doing mile repeats last night, but when I got to the track, he had changed it to 3 x 5 minutes at tempo pace. Since I normally do actual tempo runs in the 8:20-8:30 range I figured I needed to be in the 7:55-8:00 range for just 5 minutes. We were essentially doing 5 minutes at tempo pace, and a 1 minute recovery jog to drop our HR back down before doing the next 5 minutes- to be honest, that seemed pretty easy to me. He offered to let me do 4 x 5 minutes with the first group, but I said no, this was not the time to test myself against the team speedsters. I decided that I needed to try to get in 1000m in each 5 minutes and that would make it more of a track session than tempo which is what I wanted since I already did my tempo on Monday :)
After a longerish warm-up, we lined up for the first 5 minutes, I was suprised how heavy my legs felt in the first lap considering how much energy I had bursting out of me all day, I seriously was bouncing off the walls and now my legs couldn't wake up- I guess this is the taper!
1.25 Mile Warm-up
5 Minutes- .67 miles (1000m) at 7:40 pace
5 Minutes- .63 miles (not 100m) at 7:58 pace
5 Minutes- .65 miles (almost 1000m) at 7:45 pace
.52 mile cool down = 4 miles for the day, right as I had planned :)
So yest I started a bit too fast on the first one, what else is new. My shin/calf pain magically returned at the end of the first 5 minutes so I backed off some during the 2nd rep to make sure I could finish strong. My legs really felt like lead during the whole workout though which really made me mad. It was obvious yesterday that I was SO well rested, and yet my legs couldn't perform, oh well, it could have been worse. I had lots of fun again last night, even more people were there since there were several who skipped last week due to races, but this is going to be a really fun group to train with. I am not going to go to the track workout next week because I know I would be too tempted.
I had planned to do an easy 4-5 miles this morning as a recovery and to shake out my legs, but my coach said I should wait 24 hours since I was tapering, so I have instructions to do my easy run after work (and class) tonight, and then my goal pace "long run" of 8-10 miles on Saturday.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
-Pack (at least the packing list is complete)
-figure out how to get there, this place is really in the middle of no where
-stock up on my food and fuel necessities for the trip
-Decide on what to wear for the race
I still have no idea what I will be wearing for the race, I have the bottoms situation nailed down, but the weather is being soooo wishy-washy that I don't know what to do about the whole top situation. I wore the top I thought I would wear for the race for my long run last week, and since it has cooled off some it didn't get immediately sweat-soaked and stuck to me, and it kept moving which annoyed me, so I think that one is probably out, but if it is cool enough to wear a shirt, I need to figure out which one I will be wearing and decide ASAP since I will need to run in it this weekend otherwise I will refuse to wear it for the race.
Speaking of the weather I am stalking the 10 day forcast like it's my job. We are getting a cool (cold) front this weekend and looking at 73/53 as the temps for THIS weekend...if only the race was this weekend. From what it shows now there may be some rain late next week that helps cool it down some, so cross your fingers that we don't have "Chicago-Like" race conditions.
Tonight is my last track workout, and I am excited to meet with my coach again to go over my training plan that will be starting up again the first of November. I am glad to already be signed up for a few races for after the marathon so I don't just screw around with no plan in mind. To finish out this year here are the races:
- Women's Running Magazine Half Marathon (11/21)
- Outback Distance Classic (11/25- Thanksgiving)
- Festival of Lights 5k (12/11)
- Jacksonville Bank Half Marathon (12/19)
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I have gotten in 2 runs since my long run on Thursday- an easy 5 miler on Sunday, it was much needed after a 2 day running hiatus. 5 easy miles in 47:xx, it was right at a 9:30 pace and felt good.
Monday morning is when mentally the taper really began because it was the start of another week that would be very very different than the 16 that came before it.
I had a 6 mile tempo planned- I told myself that the tempo miles didn't have to be at my aggressive 8:20-8:25 tempo pace but any miles under 8:55 was fine.
6 Miles- 53:12, 8:52 average pace
Mile 1- 9:31
Mile 2- 8:49
Mile 3- 8:41
Mile 4- 8:34
Mile 5- 8:28
Mile 6- 9:09
So I went a little faster than I maybe needed to, but I was itching to run fast. It wasn't a particularly easy tempo, my legs felt a little heavy, but it wasn't a killer run, and I love the negative splits :) I have read SO many different opinions on how to run during the taper, some say always easy, some say keep up the intensity just cut miles, some say do nothing, for once my incessent googling did not pay off, but I decided to drop the miles and keep the intensity pretty high, we will see how it goes.
Thus far I am not having any dreaded "taper twinges" or panic attacks, but there is one thing I have found that I am not quite sure what to do with, and that is Time!!!!
Normally if I run in the AM then I give myself 2 hours, which between getting ready and actually running I need the full 2 hours (figure 9 miles = 90 minutes). So with only needing 1 hour to run AND stretch, I found myself able to sleep in a little more Monday morning, and with nothing left to do once I was home, and no pressing need to be in bed by 9pm, I had to find a distraction...
Next came the recipe for super easy and tasty peanut butter cookies. So yeah, I can't run much at all and I now have 4 dozen baked goods in my house right now, great. I really don't want to part with the pumpkin muffins because they are THAT good, but I figure I can ditch them at work so I don't eat them all, and I can always make more, and God knows we still have a week and half to go so that is a very realistic possibility.
Penny & Jaime- be ready for big baskets of baked goods as marathon gifts!
So that is how I kept myself busy last night, I still was in bed at a reasonable time, got 8 hours of sleep and woke up about 10 minutes before my alarm this morning. Considering I was up and awake at 6am with nice weather and good feeling legs, I really wanted to run, but I knew 4 days in a row this week was not what I had planned nor was it the best idea. I sat on the couch for a few minutes trying to figure out what the hell I was supposed to be doing, my lunch was packed, I had already taken a shower last night, the bed was made, hmmmm. So I went to the gym.
Now before you start yelling at me. I took my newest issue of Fitness magazine and sat on what I call the "Lazy Bike" (recumbent bike) for a very easy 25 minutes of reading and biking. I felt very itchy being at the gym and not doing something worthwile, but at least my legs were moving, although not very purposefully, and I was able to get out a little bit of my energy. Luckily I have class tonight and a few tv shows to watch, but I am not quite sure what to do with all this lingering energy I have from being so well rested and not rushed, anyone want some baked goods? I am taking requests!!!
Friday, October 8, 2010
So I will go ahead and put this out there and say I was a bit rebellious when I designed my training plan, I built in a 15 day taper not the normal 21 days that is recommended and that everyone else uses. While I have never run a marathon I have been an athlete long enough to know how my body recovers and how long it takes, and I knew 3 weeks would be waay too long for me. I had my last long run schedule for last night and it basically said 18-22 on the schedule, but I decided that 20 would be the magic number.
I will say that my goal for this run was pace miles. I have done several 20+ milers so far so I wasn't stressed about the distance, I wanted to see how long I could hold onto my goal pace, and how it left me feeling at the end. The verdict = not what I had hoped.
18 Miles- 2:50:20, 9:27 pace
Miles 1-8: (9:43, 9:31, 9:26, 9:39, 9:23, 9:05, 9:17, 9:21)
Miles 9-12: (9:38, 9:26, 9:22, 9:20)
Miles 13-18: (9:33, 9:31, 9:29, 9:30, 9:31, 9:35)
So if you didn't know anything else you would actually think this was a super stellar run, and in hindsight it really was a strong solid run with really good times until the end when my body just shut down. I went into this run not well nourished and very dehydrated. I had not eaten much all day which is not great when you are planning an evening long run, and I had almost no water all day. Our water cooler was out at work, and I was so busy I never got a chance to slip out and get some, so I was uber dehydrated which was a major factor in the later miles. I knew both these things going into the run, and I knew it would hurt me, but I also knew it was now or never, and I wanted this last run.
I am honestly not that bummed that I had to stop at 18, I wish I had felt up to doing 20, but I didn't, and I am smart enough to know that pushing 2 more miles would have probably ended very very badly. I think if I had been better fueled I would have had at least 2 more pace miles in me, and that gives me enough confidence to feel ready for this race, and to do it at the pace I have trained for. Even as dead as I was I managed to hold my pace, and that is very reassuring. My drinking habits during this run showed me just how dehydrated I was, I had to keep looping back to get more water, and more water, I never seemed to have enough, but at least I can pinpoint my mistakes and move forward.
Another fun fact for you: Gu is VERY sticky! I was eating my first gu around mile 5.5 and running while eating it, and all of a sudden I felt something sticky on my leg...uhh yeah the gu had somehow overflowed and dripped onto my right inside knee, it was like glue, I could not get it off with water, and when I made my pitstop at mile 8 to refill my water I had to scrub it off with water and a towel. This probably has me the most nervous that it will happen during my race, and it would not be welcomed.
So it finally taper time!!!!! I have been looking forward to the taper mostly because it means that the race is super close which it is! I have read all the stories about taper paranoia and the random twinges, and I am mentally prepared for them, so hopefully you won't hear too much freaking out. Luckily I have plenty of things to get done during these 2 weeks so I shouldn't have too much extra time on my hands. I can't believe it's finally time to put this training cycle to bed, I can't believe I have been at this for 16 weeks, it went by SO fast!!!
Tons of luck to everyone racing this weekend: Chicago, Steamtown, and several others, I can't wait to see everyone's race recaps!!!!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Last night my 2nd workout was at the track, not the usual " I went to the track and ran my intervals all by my lonesome". I had scheduled last night to go out and meet with the coach and team of Personal Running Solutions, who I am hoping to train with for my 2nd marathon in the spring (winter?).
I was SUPER nervous on my way over there, but all of that faded away quickly after meeting with the coach and a few girls before practice started. I was told we would do a 1 mile warm-up and ladders which was great because it was so similar to the workout I had already written on my schedule for the day.
So the plan was 1 Mile warm up, 1600, 1200, 800, 3x400 - 1 minute rest between each.
I was nervous about the 1 minute rest, granted, I usually never rest I keep running (slogging) for a 1/4 mile to receover, but I was curious to see how I did.
He put in the middle group which I felt seemed right with my skill level. When we started the first interval I found myself at the front of the pack and feeling so comfortable at the absurd paces I was running. I knew immediately that this was a good idea for me, I was already pushing faster than I would alone and feeling ok. I ended up finishing in the front of the group each time which was a great feeling!
Warm-up Mile- 9:06
1200- 5:48 (7:42 pace)
800- 3:49 (7:40 pace)
3x400- 1:43 (6:58p), 1:45 (6:58p), 1:37 (6:39p)
1/2 mile cool down- 4:27
Total 4.5 Miles to make it a fabulous 8.5 mile day.
The 800 and first 2 400s felt the toughest, but I knew I pushed myself and was a little out of my element so I was pleased with how well it went.
I had SO much fun out there, all the people were so nice and competitive enough that it was challenging yet still fun. The cool air was perfect, and as the sun started to go down they had the big lights on and music which brought me back to my high school days. I met so many fun people and I cannot wait to go back next week. The coach said I looked really solid and mentioned moving me to the next group for when I get back into it, I am not sure if I am ready for that though- they run really fast!!!!
That one workout has me absolutely sold on this group. I was 99% sure I wanted to train with them before I went yesterday, and now I know I really want to. The coach is exactly what I was looking for- he coaches how I used to coach with the same mentality and demeanor which I love. They do three runs a week which I can attend, or not if my schedule doesn't allow, but I am really eager to have people to do my long runs with, I am hoping that will help me push more and run faster and longer. We talked after the practice about my goals for my next race and what I was looking to add/change/etc. He and I will be working over the next 2 weeks to get a training plan together for my next race(s). SO Excited!!!!
I have my last "long run" planned for tonight and then its really taper time, yay!!!!!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
So to get you up to speed- I took Sunday off per usual, but my legs felt suprisingly fresh considering I had done a very quick race the day before- only some hamstring tightness, but again what else is new.
Monday: 7 Mile tempo- I opted to break this tempo run down a little slower and shorter than I normally would, my claf/shin was feeling better and I really did not want to go all out and anger it, especially since I had a nice quick race on Saturday.
I did the first 5 miles alone - 45:17 and did kind of like a progression through my easy and hard tempo paces and then back down, if that makes any sense.
Mile 1- 9:43
Mile 2- 8:57
Mile 3- 8:34
Mile 4- 8:53
Mile 5- 9:09
After those 5 I picked up John to do the last 2 since he also wanted to run. I took these last 2 nice and easy, I had gotten in my quicker miles, and did not want to piss off the leg. 2 Miles- 19:57 (10:04, 9:53)
For a total of 7 Miles- 1:05:14
Tuesday- I woke up to some tight muscles, and as much as I really wanted to run in the perfect fall weather I opted for some cross training since I knew I had big runs planned for today and Thursday. I loathe the stationary bike at the gym- like seriously. I can do spin class, but asking me to do it by myself is just torture.
Wednesday: Today I am attempting one of my favorite things- Double workouts! I actually love doing doubles, and I have missed them. They have not really been ideal for marathon training since it basically gives you 2 shorter runs for the day and doesn't necessarily help you focus on endurance, but it worked out well this week.
This morning I was SO excited to get out in the fall weather to run, and for the first time in countless months, I reached to the other side of my shirt drawer to grab a shirt with sleeves for my workout today.
It was obviously dark, and a cool 60* with only 55% humidity and a breeze- bliss! I was almost cold at first, but better to be cold than hot I have learned. The temperature changes have started to make a noticable difference in my paces as well which I love, all that sweating this summer will hopefully pay off as we get into winter.
I did 4 Miles this morning @ goal marathon pace. I was actually hoping to see a little bit quicker splits considering all the rest of me felt so good, but for some reason my calves siezed up again during my run, and despite stopping to stretch at mile 2, they tensed back up within a half mile, so all things considered I am pleased with how it went, I was still in goal pace range, and all but the 1 mile were under, so no complaints.
4 Miles- 37:43, 9:25 pace
Mile 1- 9:27
Mile 2- 9:39
Mile 3- 9:20
Mile 4- 9:17
Even though the calf seizing came back, today it was just the muscle, not my actual shin bone that was hurting, so that is an improvement from last week when it was mostly shin pain and muscle soreness from trying to compensate from it. I think all the icing has seriously paid off. I am rocking my compression socks at work today in hopes of loosening up my calves before going to the track tonight, hopefully they work!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I trust everyone is having a fabulous weekend so far, mine has been really great!
Today I did my anniversary race and 2nd half marathon, I walked away with close to a 16 minute PR and feeling re-energized and ready to tackle my marathon in 3 weeks.
So after my minor injury flare up this week, I took 3 days off going into this race, I was nervous on my way to the race this morning after a nightmare about missing my goal time and having my injury flare up. I got in an almost 2 mile warm-up, I wanted to be able to start warm at my goal pace and gauge how my leg was before the start. I FLEW through my warm-up, several minutes of it were well under a 9 minute pace, I kept having to back it off more and more as to not expend too much energy, but it was obvious my legs were fresh and ready to run.I made the decision as I was waiting for the gun that I felt good enough, and was so rested that with the perfect weather 71*, overcast and breezy, I was going for my A Goal of a sub-2:00.
After the gun I was able to get up to speed pretty easily, and fell naturally into a 9:20 pace which was my plan for the first few miles. The 2 bridges in this race fell within the first 3 miles (I thought just the first 2 miles). Each bridge (both up and end down) each ended up falling within their own mile which made my splits look fine since the huge speediness on the downhills majorly negated the slow paces from the uphills.
Mile 1- 9:15
Mile 2- 9:04
Mile 3- 9:09
The first bridge was shorter and much easier, I felt fine and my pace never dropped below my 9:20, the second bridge as I already knew was a bitch! It was long, steep and never-ending, my pace suffered significantly, but the downhill was just as intense as going up so I was able to get through it in great time.
After coming off the bridges I fell into a pace range of 8:55-9:05 and it seemed so natural, I never really had to pick it up or slow it down, it just kind of was on its own which was a great feeling to know that I was ready for that pace without barely running it at all. We ran through some beautiful neighborhoods along the river which kept the temps nice and the breeze steady, it started at 71* and was only 73* by the time I finished, I am hoping these temps are around to stay. The middle miles flew by so quickly, and before I knew it, I was at mile 9.
Mile 4- 8:55
Mile 5- 9:03
Mile 6- 9:03
Mile 7- 8:58
Mile 8- 9:06Mile 9- 8:54
The water stations were using plastic cups today instead of paper, it made it impossible to make the cup into a v to drink while running, and I spilled on myself many times. The last couple water stations I was barely jogging through to try to get the water in, but never once did I stop to walk. My biggest fear of walking is that I will not be able to get moving again because my legs will be so heavy and I will never get back up to the pace I had been at before I stopped, but today I never felt the need to walk, I never felt out of breath until the very end and I felt like I had found the right pace and was just chugging along.
Right as we came up to mile 11 there was a big ramp that I was unaware of that was tough, I held my own, and used the spiral ramp going down to make up some lost ground.
Mile 10- 9:06Mile 11- 9:00
The last mile and half were when it started to get a little tough, I was getting tired, and probably should have taken more gu instead of just Gatorade near mile 10, but too late now. I knew I needed to get in a sub 8:45 last mile to make sure I felt safe, and what had been so easy up until that point, suddenly felt so hard. At mile 12 we turned the corner onto the final mile stretch, this part was identical to the last mile of the 5k course I did last year, I remember the stretch being so hard last year too, but I was in a whole new place, and 1 last water stop later I caught a 2nd wind with about .7 miles to go. I was able to keep my pace down for the rest of the race and as I saw John I tried to tell him that I was going to make it, but it just came out as another picture with me and my mouth open :)
Mile 12- 9:11 (up-ramp)
Mile 13- 8:35
Mile 13-13.16- 1:18 (8:04 pace)
I finally got my sub-2:00 that I have waited/worked so long for,
13.1 Miles- 1:58:43, 9:04 pace!
John and I hung around the post race festivities for a bit, but with the breeze and being so sweaty I was getting chilly. We did have some fun in the parking lot though taking ridiculous pictures.