Fall running weather is here! Richmond Marathon Training Week 11

I love this weather.  Cool weather makes me a happy runner!  I feel faster and less lethargic.  It’s like magic.
The end of this week means that there’s only 1 more super long run as part of this training cycle.  So incredibly happy about that!  25 days until the big day and I’m feeling strong.  I figure if I can get myself through these long runs solo then I can conquer 26.2 on race day with the support of the crowds.

Wednesday:  Planned:  Active Recovery
Actual:  I was supposed to get up and do the elliptical but I didn’t.  I planned to get in 30 minutes when I got home from work, but I didn’t.  I did, however, get a wonderful massage.  That felt amazing – I mean it hurt a lot but it’s supposed to.  My calves, quads, hips, and hamstrings all got special attention.

Thursday:  Planned:  7 miles
Actual:  7 miles at 11:55 pace.  A cool 50 degree morning and I felt terrific.  It was a great morning for a run and my pace showed it.  My massage from the night before did wonders for my calves and they felt amazing.  As I turned onto Jetton Road I passed the Harris Teeter and it smelled like Main Street at Disney World.  Just like vanilla and cinnamon and hopes and dreams.  I passed it on my way down and then again on the way back up I breathed in deeply.  Just like magic.  It is time to go to Disney yet?
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Friday:  Planned:  Rest
Actual:  Rest. A good dinner.  And a epsom salt bath.

Saturday:  Planned:  18 miles with last 3 at MP
Actual:  18 miles.  I had my standard pre-long run meal with filet and rice and rolls.  I forgot to get milk so the potatoes didn’t happen.  I went to bed early, got up at 5:15 for my eggs and bagel, and then fell back asleep.  I forgot to set the 6am alarm so I woke up around 7:30am.  Since that threw off my fuel I had a Clif bar while I got dressed and ready.  I started in shorts, compression sleeves, and the mint long sleeve Nike top that I thought may work on marathon day.  I like the short sleeve version better.  The sleeves are tight around the wrists so you can’t push them up easily – and has a weirdly open neckline that makes the sleeves fit funny.  So I don’t think that shirt is happening.  I wore the long sleeve for the first 11 miles and changed shirts in the middle of the neighborhood to the short sleeve version because I got too warm.  I decided on one lap of 11 and then a final lap of 7.  The plan worked really well and it’s my new favorite way to get in miles for a long run.  Having the first out and back as longer than the second is the best for me mentally.  I felt pretty good on the first out and back.  I felt strong and felt like I could probably run forever.  Knowing that this run wasn’t 20 miles really made it more manageable.  I had 2 Gu’s during the 11 miles – one at mile 4 and one at mile 8.  At my turnaround I stopped at my support pack and had Gatorade, changed shirts, and ate a few pretzels.  I also switched out tissues (my nose was running the whole time) and refilled my water.  I headed back out and the next few miles were pretty hard.  I was feeling slow and ready to be done.  I hit my turnaround and stopped at the bathroom.  I stretched a little and then headed for my last 3.5 miles.  I knew my plan called for that last 3 at MP (11:40) so I put some pep in my step.  I repeated my mantra (I am fast, I am strong, I am a marathoner) and told myself I was having fun and this was comfortable.  Mile 16 was 11:09 and Mile 17 was 11:28 – clearly I was running entirely too fast.  That’s probably why Mile 18 was 13:04 – also it’s mostly uphill for the last part.  So that’s a lesson in going too fast when you’re already tired.  I’m so bad at running consistently.  My paces are all over the place – depending on hills, distraction, and mood.  I had another Gu at around mile 13.5 and then got hungry towards the end but didn’t see the need for another Gu.  During the last mile I seriously considered walking but kept telling myself that the end would come sooner if I ran.  My left ankle gets sore after around 16 miles so I need to remember to tape it for race day.
I’m incredibly glad I only have 1 more super long run of this cycle.  I’m ready to run this race and accomplish this goal.
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Sunday:  Planned:  Rest
Actual:  Deep Stretch Yoga.  The yoga really helps me feel like I can move again the day after a long run.  It’s probably the biggest change I’ve made during this training cycle.

I’m finally feeling better and I think I’ve caught up on my rest.  But I’m going to go to bed early tonight just in case.  Mostly because I go to bed early almost every night and I like to sleep.

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What day is it? Richmond Marathon Training Weeks 9 and 10

Seriously, what day is it?  This week has been a whirlwind.  I’ve been sick.  Things got all messed up at work because of rain on Saturday.  Between being sick and the exhaustion that comes with working so much I’m just trying to stay afloat.  I missed my long run this weekend but got through 20 miles last weekend.  So let’s see how it all went down…

Monday 9/28:  Planned:  4 miles easy
Actual: 4 miles with muddy shoes at 12:09 pace.

Tuesday 9/29:  Planned: Speed work Revised plan:  5 miles
Actual:  5 miles at 11:59 pace.  I wanted to quit the entire time.  I was still tired from the weekend and just didn’t want to be out there.  But I pushed through it.

Wednesday 9/30:  Planned:  Cross training
Actual:  30 elliptical minutes and a sports massage.  My calves and quads were so tight so it was great getting them worked on.

Thursday 10/1:  Planned 5 miles
Actual:  5 miles at 12:07 with no rain.  It’s been raining constantly so it was nice to go out without it.  Also, happy October!
I also went to Deep Stretch Yoga and was the only student so I got to spend some time with my instructor – who is also my masseuse!  She worked on my form and tried to relax my hamstring by standing on them.  Holy moly that was amazing.  They totally released and it was a little bit life changing.

Friday 10/2:  Planned:  Rest
Actual: Rest.  And tried to get pumped for 20 miles in the morning with heavy rains and flooding forecasted all day.  And my parents freaking out about flash floods.
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Saturday 10/3:  Planned:  20 miles.
Actual:  I woke up sick.  My throat was hurting and I decided there was no way I was running 20 miles that day.  Plus the whole day was supposed to be miserable storms and it just felt dumb to try to run in the rain while I felt sick.  I went to the doctor and got a negative strep test.  And then I spent the day on the couch.

Sunday 10/4:  Planned: Rest.  Revised Plan:  20 miles
Actual:  Since I didn’t get in my 20 on Saturday I knew I wanted to try to get it in on Sunday.  I woke up feeling okay and decided I was going to go for it.  I ate my standard filet, potatoes, and rice the night before and tried to hydrate.  I prepped my support pack with Gatorade, water, pretzels, and tissues.  I was really worried about the wind and potential for rain so I wore my pink Nike jacket and longer capris.  I really would have been okay with shorts and a tshirt – the temperatures felt warmer than I expected.  I went back and forth on deciding to do two out and backs of 10 or do one 11 and one 9.  I ended up with one 11 and one 9 and I’m really glad I made that choice.  It rained at different points throughout the run and the wind was really strong at some points.  A few times it actually held me in place and I struggled to run against it.  The points when it pushed me along were pretty lovely though.  Overall the run was hard.  I cried at the last downhill and thought about the downhill at the end of Richmond.  We’re talking heaving crying and I tried to get ahold of myself.  I ate pretzels at my 11 mile support pack break and carried some with me for my turnaround at 15.5.  At the 15.5 turnaround I struggled.  I really didn’t feel like finishing.  I stretched for a bit and then made myself continue.  It was hard.  Running is hard.  When I finally got to that last mile I decided to take a video of the water rushing over the path.  My parents were very concerned about the idea of me running on Saturday because of the flash flood warnings.  Videoing that little stream going over the path really brightened my mood and made me laugh.  I sent it to them after the run with a warning about avoiding flash floods.  Still makes me giggle.  I also saw a son and his dad trekking across the mud that overflows onto the path and that made me laugh too.  So really, I had a lot of amusement during that last mile.  It helped.  Overall, I was really happy because this run was MUCH better than my 20 miler when Jess and I were training for DC.  I remember that last mile being awful and really questioning if I could run another 10k after that.  This time – it hurt – but I knew I could do it.  So that was really nice.  Of course, I cried on the walk home and a little bit when I got home.  But I do that so let’s all move on.
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Monday: 10/5:  Planned: 4 easy.  Revised plan:  Rest Day
Actual:  Woke up with a horrible cold and was totally miserable.  It just got worse as the day progressed.  I think the sickness was building and the 20 miles on Sunday just wore me out.  Great week to be sick – with a huge event at work this weekend.  Ugh.

Tuesday 10/6: Planned:  Speedwork  Revised plan:  Rest Day
Actual:  Still miserably sick and there was no way I was running.

Wednesday 10/7: Planned:  Cross training
Actual:  30 minutes on the elliptical while talking to Jess on the phone.  Chatting certainly made the time go by faster – especially since I really didn’t feel like doing anything.

Thursday 10/8:  Planned: 6 miles
Actual: 5 miles at 12:06 pace.  This run was rough.  I was tired from being sick and working late and I just didn’t have another mile in me.  I decided to cut it short when I got to 2 miles and I was still miserable.  So 5 miles it was.

Friday 10/9:  Planned:  Originally 14-16 miles:  Revised Plan:  Rest
Actual:  I knew there was no way to get in my miles before work so I took a rest day. With a full day of standing ahead of me it was the best choice.

Saturday 10/10:  Planned:  Rest Day
Actual:  Worked all day – which meant standing allllll day long.  It was Bank of America 500 Race Day and it rained.  A lot.

Sunday 10/11:  Planned:  Rest Day, Revised Plan:  15 miles?
Actual:  Bank of America 500 again.  The rain meant waking up bright and early to be back at work.  Luckily the race started at 12:30 so we got home around 8pm.  And it was straight to bed.
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Monday 10/12: Planned:  4 miles easy, Revised Plan:  15 miles
Actual:  Nope.  No run.  I spent the day on the couch recovering and resting from the weekend.  There was no way I could long run and I felt like resting was the best choice.

Tuesday 10/13:  Planned:  Speedwork  Revised Plan: 6 miles
Actual:  6 miles at 12:05 pace.  It felt good to run again.  Nice cool morning with a little bit of sunrise at the end.  I felt strong again.

So I’m trying to rest and recover and start thinking about the race that’s a short 30 days away.  In 30 days I’ll be a marathoner again.  I’ll run 26.2 miles – of that I’m sure.  There are 3 more long runs until I get to that start line – 18, 20, and 14.  I’m ready for you Richmond.
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Two Great Long Runs Closer – Richmond Marathon Training Weeks 7&8

Wow it’s been a busy two weeks.  I never quite got around to writing last week’s post so here’s a double feature.

Let’s back track..

Monday 9/14 – Planned: 4 miles originally, revised to Rest day
Actual: After the Divas Half I knew I needed to take a few days off.  So I took off Sunday and Monday to rest at my coach’s encouragement.

Tuesday 9/15 – Planned: 4-5 miles easy
Actual:  5 miles. Since I had taken off Sunday and Monday I felt good about 5 miles.  I felt really really strong.  I ran way faster than my coach wanted me to but it was just one of those mornings.  I think I needed to prove to my legs (and myself!) that I had speed in there somewhere.  I ended up at an 11:07 pace.  I had to get up earlier than normal to get to an event at work.  2 months till Richmond!
No strength.

Wednesday 9/16 – Planned: Active Recovery
Actual: 30 minutes of elliptical.

Thursday 9/17 – Planned: 6 miles easy
Actual: 6 easy miles and focusing on what’s important to my training.  After talking to my coach this week I knew I needed to focus on my goals and really train my brain to be positive in the run.  This run was all about that.  Focusing on strength.
I had to get to the store to get groceries and back home to finish cleaning the house for Noelle to visit!

Friday – Rest Day!  I picked Noelle up from the airport and we saw a few races at the drag strip before heading to dinner.  Yum!
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Saturday – Planned:  16 miles at easy pace
Actual:  16 incredible miles.  So lovely and fun.  Since Noelle was visiting, I woke up around 4:15am and had my 2 eggs and bagel.  I actually ate the bagel in bed – such a rebel.  I woke up around 5am to start getting ready and headed out the door around 6:15am for my warm-up.  I did my regular few laps around the parking garages and my dynamic stretches.  I had packed my new fancy marathon training support pack and headed down the road to where I had planned to start my run and drop my bag.
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I had planned to do 2 out and backs of 4 miles out and 4 miles back to total up with 16 miles.  Double out and backs works much better for me mentally than running around in circles to make up mileage.
So what’s in my marathon training support pack?  Well, for starters I made a sign to attached to the bag that was all fancy and laminated.  I packed the bag with an extra bottle of cold water, my extra handheld with half frozen water and then filled with cold water, two mini bottles of frozen red Gatorade, and a bunch of tissues in a baggie.  I had frozen both handhelds the night before – half filled with water and laying on their side.  It worked really well and I’ll do that for my other long runs.  Cold water makes a big difference for me.  There’s also magic in the bag.  It’s the kind of magic that exists when you know you have a support pack waiting for you at your turn around.  Hey – it works for me.  The Gatorade bottles were still pretty frozen when I tried to drink them after the first 8 mile set – so I’ll need to figure that out better.  They were nice and cold when I got back after the 16 though.  Since I was doing two out and backs, my support pack worked brilliantly and I didn’t have to drop off the bag before my run.  Plus, it was a great way to use my pink Divas bag.
What else made the run great?  The weather and my nutrition.  The whole no-fiber the day before the run is working brilliantly.  I didn’t have to make a bathroom stop on this run and that hasn’t happened in a long time.  I ate bbq with Noelle for dinner and that worked – pulled pork sandwich and mashed potatoes.
The rest of Saturday was spent pedicuring, eating, shopping, and at the movies.  We saw Everest in IMAX.  So good and now I can cross climbing Everest off my list of things to do.
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Sunday – Planned: 3 recovery miles
Actual:  Okay – maybe it’s just me but I really hate these recovery miles.  I feel like I’m dying or maybe being murdered.  It’s the most horrible feeling of plodding along miserably.  I get the whole theory about running on tired legs but my legs don’t care about the theory.  My legs hate running on Sundays after a long run on Saturday.  So there.  We went to Deep Stretch yoga afterwards and that was a huge huge help.  My hips needed it so badly.  I think the yoga was the only reason I felt good the following few days.
After yoga we went out to lunch, solved the room at Exit Strategy, and then had a great dinner at Cantina with Brooke.

Monday – Planned:  4 easy miles
Actual:  Okay this time I really felt like I was being murdered.  Where’s my rest day?  I want to sleep in!  These 4 miles were less than fun.  But I went and ran and all that jazz.  Afterwards we went and got relaxation massages.  My masseuse did a little bit of myofascial release which probably helped my calves a little bit.  Frankly, it was just nice and relaxing.
After the massage we went to lunch and then another movie – but this time at a place with recliners.  It was glorious.  And we were to only people in the theatre so we got to chat the whole time.  Good thing cause the movie was so stressful – No Escape – but good!
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I dropped Noelle at the airport and then did an Epsom salt bath that night.  We had such a fun weekend – I’m so glad she came to visit!

Tuesday – Planned:  6 miles (replacing speed work)
Actual:  My coach and I decided that speed work isn’t going to happen anytime soon – maybe not again ever for this training cycle.  My hamstring can’t handle it and it’s silly to push something that’s not ready.  I know that getting to both the start line AND the finish line in Richmond is the goal here.  And I’m not going to try to push my hamstring to do something it’s going to argue against.  And speed work makes it all cranky and it starts back talking.  No one likes that.  So I did 6 miles and just enjoyed the run.  It was misty raining and cloudy so I missed the sunrise but had a nice, strong run.  I ended up at 11:55 overall pace.
No strength.  I had plans in the evening…

Wednesday – I took a Rest Day.  No active recovery, no yoga.  I just rested and stretched and took an Epsom salt bath.  I don’t regret it a bit.

Thursday – Planned:  7 miles easy
Actual:  7 miles at 11:30 pace.  Man, that run felt good.  The first half of the run was in the dark so I didn’t check my watch and just ran my feel – clearly I was feeling good.  It was such a nice morning and I felt strong.  I love runs like that.  It was probably because I was nice and rested from taking the day off on Wednesday – but I’ll take it either way.
I did some stretching at home cause I forgot my gym bag.

Friday – Another Rest Day!  Sleep, glorious sleep.  Getting prepped for Saturday’s run.  No fiber and good dinner of filet, mashed potatoes, and rolls.

Saturday – Planned:  18 miles easy
Actual: I woke up and ate my 2 hardboiled eggs and bagel around 4:30.  I planned to get up at 5:30 and out of the door around 6 or 6:30 but I fell back asleep.  I ended up getting up at about 6 and managed to get out the door around 7am.  I did my warm up and walked start to my start point with my support pack. Did I mention it was raining?  Yeah, it was raining.  My weather app wasn’t aware it was raining and said that rain would start around 10 – but clearly the damn app was wrong.  So I stowed my support bag and started my run.  I’m pretty thankful that I wore a full hat and double baggied my phone before I left – just in case.  It was pretty chilly – about 63 and lots of wind.  The first part of the run sorta sucked.  I felt slow and tired but I kept moving.  I briefly considered maybe quitting and running tomorrow but I knew that would make me miserable.  So I kept on.  I got my stride around mile 3 and started feeling good.  I ate my salted caramel Gu at mile 4 and kept moving.  I stretched at my turnaround at mile 4.5.  My phone started doing this weird Voice Control thing during all of mile 5 and I had to stop to fool with it.  So frustrating.  Around mile 6 I got a burst of energy – thanks to Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty”.  I added that song – and a bunch of others to my mix on Friday night and was really looking forward to some new music.  I carried on towards my turnaround at mile 9.  At 9 I stopped and sent Jess and Carrie a halfway selfie and took some of my Gatorade.  I also enjoyed my nice dry tissues and then started back with the whole running thing.  I restarted my phone during my break to stop that annoying Voice Control thing and it fixed the issue.
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Mile 10 sucked – mostly because I started thinking about how I would have 16 more miles to go on marathon day.  That felt pretty impossible in the moment.  I did manage to talk myself out of those negative thoughts with my mantra:  I am fast.  I am strong. I am a marathoner.  Jess sent me the most amazing new Momentum Jewelry bracelet with my mantra on it and I can’t wait to wear it on race day.  I cried (of course) when it arrived and I know I’ll need it in Richmond.  I’ve decided not to wear it except for my 20 milers and Richmond – to keep it special.
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When I finally got to my last turnaround at mile 13.5, I stretched again and was pretty much ready to be done.  Just another 4.5 miles to go.  I ate another salted caramel Gu at mile 12 but I was kinda hungry.  I need to remember to bring some pretzels for the 20 milers and on race day.
At mile 16 I had a very strange thought – that I could probably really go another 10 miles.  I can’t explain how strange that was.  I’ve never had a thought like that before. But I knew in that moment that the marathon was in my grasp on race day.  I’m going to run another marathon.
So that wraps up another 18 miler.  These runs are going so much better than they did the first time around.  The confidence of knowing that I can actually run 18 miles is so important.
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Sunday:  Planned:  Active Recovery and Yoga
Actual:  I’m heading over to Deep Stretch yoga and hoping it will help my weird left side back pain that sprung up after yesterday’s run.  Then it’s off to late brunch and a movie with Danielle.  Marathon training is basically running, eating, and watching movies.

Feeling Good About:
My super fancy marathon training support pack.  It’s the little things…
Yoga!  I’m so glad that I pushed past my nerves and started going to yoga.  It’s been so helpful and I love going.
My revised plan for Richmond.  I’m going to finish and I’m going to feel strong.  That’s the plan.  Oh, and I’m going to enjoy it (okay… some of it!)
My long run eating.  The whole no fiber on Friday and then a good dinner is really working out.

Need to Work On:
Going to strength.  I got lazy about this around this time last training cycle and I need to push myself to go.
Always nutrition.  But that’s probably always going to be a battle for me.

Diva’s Half Marathon, Peachtree City, GA 9/12/15 Race Recap

Happy 10th Half Marathon to Me!
I raced the Diva’s Half Marathon in Peachtree City, GA on Saturday and here’s my full recap.  Overall, I thought it was a nice, smaller race with a nice course and I would do it again.
Pre Race:
I tapered on Thursday with only 4 miles and then rested on Friday as usual.  Friday was a travel day down to Atlanta to stay with Jess.  Angie also came up for this race so it was great to see her and race with her.  This was a goal race for her and her second half.  On Friday I skipped my standard salad at lunch and had a meatball sandwich with pasta salad instead.  I headed down to Jess’s and got there around 7:30pm.  She made us lemon chicken, rice, and a baked potato for dinner.  We were off to bed a little later than I’d prefer, considering our wakeup time.

Saturday – Race Day!
We woke up at 3:30am to get ready and leave the house by 4:20am.  I had 2 hardboiled eggs before leaving and ate about a half a bagel in the car.  It took us about 45 minutes to get down to Peachtree City and we met Carrie at her hotel.  I was thrilled to meet Carrie since we’ve only “met” on Insta and she’s been training with Jess for the Richmond Marathon.
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We headed over to the race parking area to get on the shuttle.  The parking was in a field and we got there around 6am.  There were already people getting stuck in the mud and it was moving really slowly.  This is one area that the race really needs to re-think.  We headed over to the shuttles and they had a bunch of 55 passenger buses waiting.  That part was well done and not stressful.  As we made our way to the start we saw miles – seriously miles – of cars in line to park.  The parking just wasn’t efficient.  We all discussed the possibility of a delayed start – which happened.
We made our way to the starting area which had ample porta-potties and some booths set up.  We found some secret real bathrooms that were in the park where we started.  We warmed up.  Ate a Gu and had some water.  They also had water stations in the starting area which was a nice surprise.  Our group had chosen mint shirts and were really happy we did.  Everyone was in pink so it was much easier to spot our group in our non-pink shirts.
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The 5k started first and was delayed by about 10 minutes.  By the time we got to the start I was hungry already.  We waited for more 5k-ers to straggle to the start line and then got lined.  I was in Wave 1 but dropped to Wave 2 to run with Angie.  I’m really glad I made that decision.  We had discussed my race plan and decided to stay together as long as we could but to each run our own race.  Angie was worried about the hills since she has none to train on in Statesboro and I knew I had a specific plan that I wanted to test.
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The plan:
My plans were to run the first 3 at about 12:10, the middle 7 at about 11:40 (marathon pace), and the last 3 to try to pick it up if I had it.  I also wanted to test running without a handheld, running through water stations, my fuel, and pre-race nutrition.
The Race:
Angie and I started out together and enjoyed chatting.  The weather was great – cooler than it has been in a long time – so that was especially lovely.  We hit the first uphill – which I was expecting.  I knew there was a hit in mile 1 and leaned into it. Since Angie can’t train on hills I knew that this was going to test her and we didn’t want to go too fast.  We kept it at a conversational pace but I knew we were running faster than the 12:10 I had planned.  My run coach really wanted me to try to race without checking my watch constantly and this was an epic fail.  I checked it frequently.  I did make sure that I didn’t speed up based on my watch though – I didn’t feel like the effort was too much.  I was able to chat and comment on the surroundings so I knew I wasn’t pushing too hard.  I knew I would end up running faster with Angie – since she’s been running at a faster pace than me recently – and that was okay with me.  I know I can get stuck at a slower pace in my runs so I was sort of looking forward to running with her and seeing how that changed things for me.  During mile 3 we found Angie’s spirit runner – a lady that was singing along to her music and woo-hoo-ing.  She was pretty hilarious.  We hit mile 3 and I knew we wanted to pick it up a little.  I didn’t push too hard since I knew we were already faster than my intended pace.  I was anxiously awaiting the water stop at mile 4 and it took forever to see it.  My biggest compliant about this race is that the water stops were hard to see ahead of time.  They didn’t have any tall signage and they were usually just around a bend in the path.  Right before the water stop we were turning onto the narrower golf cart paths so I took my salted caramel Gu and washed it down with water.  I had tested the water on the run method with the other stops and it went pretty well.  I pinched the whole cup and tried to get as much water in my mouth as possible. I was pretty successful.  I also noticed that not carrying my handheld allowed me to focus more on my core and my arms during the hills.  No handheld was a success.
The next few miles went well and mile 5 was actually my fastest at 11:01.  I knew that the last half the race was rolling hills but I was feeling good.  So I kept going.  I was concerned I would regret it later but I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard so I kept going.
The rolling hills actually weren’t too bad.  They were short and quick so there wasn’t that long, gradual incline that you get in downtown Atlanta.  There were also a number of tunnels to run through that had steep declines and inclines – those were the roughest.  The paving in the tunnels was pretty bad and I was thankful that it wasn’t raining because they were also pitch black.  The golf cart paths we were on were fairly level but narrow.  Maybe 3 people across?  Passing was sometimes tricky but never horrible.
Around mile 8 I could see Angie pulling ahead of me.  I saw the mile 8 water stop and yelled up to her to take her last Gu and I took mine as well.  Actually I grabbed it and shoved as much of into my mouth as I could and then grabbed the water.  That water stop snuck up on me too.  Since running together on the paths was difficult anyway we hadn’t been trying to run side by side.  I was thrilled that she pulled out ahead and maintained her pace.  It’s always difficult to split during a race and I knew she had more speed to offer than I did.  When I saw her pop in her right ear bud I knew that she was going for it.  Around mile 10 I started to struggle.  This was my first race ever – probably my first run ever – to not walk through the water stations.  I’m really happy that I didn’t walk through them but I know that they’ve always been a little bit of recovery time for me.  I was starting to struggle and question whether I could really run the marathon in November.  My music switched to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” and I turned up the music and let the words wash over me.  I started having some hamstring soreness and a few flashes of pain.  Nothing scary but I knew I needed to play it smart and not push too hard.  Miles 11, 12, and 13 felt really hilly and there were a lot of ladies walking around me.  I was passing and getting passed by some of the same women and we got to another hill and I powered up while they walked.  Something about that really motivated me and I pressed on.  On mile 12 I grabbed my tiara (mostly cause I look really good in a tiara) and continued up towards the finish.  The last bit of the course was uphill but there were tons of people cheering so I powered up the hill with whatever I had left in me.
As I crossed the finish line to my 10th half marathon I saw Jess taking pictures of me and loved that the girls stayed to get our medals together.  This certainly wasn’t my fastest race or my strongest but it was a big learning experience me.  I sure wish I was as fast as I was this time last year, but I’m not.
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Splits:
Mile 1: 11:23, Mile 2: 11:19, Mile 3: 11:30
Mile 4: 11:15, Mile 5: 11:01, Mile 6: 11:20
Mile 7: 11:18, Mile 8: 11:49, Mile 9: 11:16
Mile 10: 11:18, Mile 11: 11:55, Mile 12: 11:40, Mile 13: 12:11
Final:  2:29:25, 11:29 pace, Watch counted 13.02 miles
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Successes:
Truthfully, I was feeling kinda icky about this race. I’ve been running slower this year and it’s hard to find success when you feel slow.  But as I reflected (that’s why writing a recap is so good!) was able to find the successes in this race.
I ran through the water stops which meant that I ran the entire race.  I’ve never done that before and it felt really good.  I also managed to take water and not drown or soak myself so let’s call that a win as well.  I finished my 10th half marathon.  4 years ago I couldn’t run a mile.  I’ve run 13.1 10 times and feel incredibly proud.  I ran this race much faster than I’ve been running recently.  My last 15 miler was at a 12:16 pace and my last Half in Chicago was at a 12:12.  In looking back it is nice to know that I was struggling at one point and knew how to get myself out of it.  Powering up those hills at the end was very motivating.
I has success in fueling during the race.  I took my Gu’s on time and with water.  I’m also happy about the choice to cut fiber on Friday and have a good dinner.  I listened to my body during the last 3 miles and didn’t push it.  I knew my hamstring felt off and didn’t risk Richmond by pushing it too hard.  My pace and overall time were nearly exactly what my running coach suggested.  I’m going to call that a huge win.  I slowed down at the end instead of powering up but that was a choice that I made.
I think I went out too fast for the first 6 miles but I knew I was running faster than I had planned while it was happening.  On one hand I’m glad that I pushed it and felt good while it was happening.  On the other hand, I wonder how the last 3 would have gone if I hadn’t made that choice.  In that respect, this truly was a test race.
Finally, Angie and Jess both PR’d.  I’m incredibly proud of both of them and so happy Angie pulled ahead of me.

Lessons:
I want to try using steak for the night before – I wonder if that would feel better
I need to work on pacing myself better, especially when I’m feeling good
I need work on letting negative thoughts take over and pushing them out with positive thoughts

Half Marathon Test Race! Richmond Marathon Training Week 6

This week was all about getting ready for the Diva’s Half Marathon on Saturday in Peachtree City, GA.  It was a test race and the only race I’ll be in before Richmond.  It was also my 10th Half Marathon so that was pretty exciting!  Full Race Recap coming soon!

Monday:  Planned: 4 miles easy
Actual:  Labor Day!  It was so nice to sleep in and then head out for my run.

Tuesday:  Planned:  Speedwork 6x400m with 400m of recovery.  Strength.
Actual:  Speedwork went well!  I did my regular warm-up and stretching and then ran an easy mile warm-up with more stretching.  My pace goal for the 400’s was 9:30 and I hit it on all except my first attempt.  I have a difficult time with finding pace and usually start too quick, slow down to balance it out, and then end up too slow overall.  Once I get the hang out it – I’m okay but it’s tough when I start.  The 400’s went:
9:42/9:24/9:22/9:29/9:20/9:11.  I was happy that the two were my strongest when I was nice and warmed up.  I finished it off with about a mile of cool down.
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I headed down for strength that evening and did a core and arms/back/chest workout.  My arms certainly felt it!

Wednesday:  Planned:  Active Recovery or Rest
Actual:  I went with rest.  This was the first time this training cycle that I didn’t do my active recovery Wednesday.  I woke up in time but decided to hang out in bed instead of getting up.  When the evening rolled around I decided to go to the grocery store instead of hopping on the elliptical.  I finished out with some strong foam rolling and called it a night.

Thursday:  Planned:  4 miles easy
Actual:  4 miles of sort of tapering before the Divas Half on Saturday.  I started out sluggish and then sped up during the 3rd mile.  My regular route has a hill that starts mile 2 and then a slow incline for the rest of the mile.  I run that route as part of every run but every single time that mile makes me question running.  It’s not that it’s difficult, it just makes me feel slow.

Friday:  Planned:  Rest
Actual:  Rest and travel to Atlanta.  I can’t wait to see Jess and my sister Angie and meet Carrie!  One of things I love the most about running is the relationships that it’s strengthened.  I love that I’ve run with Angie for her first and second half marathon and I love that Jess and I continue to motivate each other with new running challenges.  I’m not sure there’s any sport that brings people together quite like running – especially since it’s not actually a team sport!

Saturday:  Planned:  Divas Half Marathon, Peachtree City GA.
Actual:  Full race recap coming soon!  I’m happy with the way the whole race played out and learned a lot – which was the whole point.  Loved being able to run with my sister for some miles and had a great weekend with Jess, Angie, and Carrie.
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Sunday:  Planned:  4 miles recovery
Actual:  Rested.  My hamstring needed the rest so I skipped my 4 miles of recovery as suggested by my running coach.  The sleep felt great – though I was sad to miss out on some cooler weather miles with Jess.

Feeling good about:
Pre-race nutrition.
Racing smart
A wonderful weekend with friends and family

Need to work on:
Confidence and less negative self talk during runs
Feeling strong and staying strong
Maintaining pace

And here we go. Richmond Marathon Training Week 5

It really feels like marathon training this week.  15 miles on Saturday is clearly not half marathon training and it feels like this is really happening again.
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Monday:  Planned:  4 miles easy
Actual:  Wow I didn’t want to get out of bed.  I think doing that recovery run on Sunday really messed with my brain.  I went though.  The first 2 miles pretty much sucked and I kept thinking about how much they sucked and how much I didn’t want to be running.  And that always makes things worse – doesn’t it?  I turned to start mile 3 and a good song came on and I was running towards the sunrise and it really picked up my spirits.  I ended the run strong and am glad I went.  Sometimes running is just hard though.

Tuesday:  Planned: 5 miles with 5×1 minute sprints during miles 3 and 4, Strength
Actual:  Felt really strong during my sprints.  My route includes crossing a street and a parking lot turn around so I planned my sprints better this time around by waiting until after crossing the street to start the sprints.  I hit mile 2 right before the crosswalk so it worked out well.  Sprints felt longer since they were double what they were last week but I still felt strong.  Splits were 8:35/9:13/8:46/9:02/9:12 for the sprints.
Did a ridiculous strength workout at the gym.  I did the full core workout and could only make it through the legs section 1.5 times.  Wow that was painful.

Wednesday:  Planned:  Rest or Active Recovery
Actual:  So sore from the strength workout yesterday and didn’t have it in me to get up a doing anything.
Did 30 minutes of elliptical in the evening and more foam rolling to work out the soreness.

Thursday:  Planned:  6 miles – 2 easy, 3 at 10:30, 1 easy
Actual:  As much as I dread these pace runs – I absolutely love nailing them.  I knew this run would be difficult because my legs were still so very sore from Tuesday’s strength.  I did my warm-up and then headed out for 2 miles at easy pace.  The easy pace miles weren’t too bad but I was nervous going into my pace miles which were planned for 10:30.  I thought about maybe doing just 2 miles instead of 3 but decided to just see how things went.  The first 1 mile was hard.  I kept repeating my mantra:  I am fast, I am strong, I am a marathoner and that really helped.  Keeping that pace doesn’t allow me to daydream to think about much of anything.  I just keep glancing at my watch to check how I’m doing and push forward.  I also noticed that I’m using my arms a lot more.  After my turnaround I felt better, like I was settling into my pace and made an effort to slightly lean into the run.  It helped and I felt myself going faster.  The third mile felt easier than the first, which is strange because it was my fastest.  Splits on the pace miles were 10:23/10:00/9:53.  It’s so rewarding to see those numbers – especially when my legs were definitely not feeling it.  I kept reminding myself that running on tired legs today makes for strong miles during 20-26.2.
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Friday:  Planned:  Rest
Actual:  Yay for rest day!  Actually woke up not sore this morning!  Mentally prepared for 15 miles on Saturday and tried to hydrate.

Saturday:  Planned:  15 miles easy
Actual:  Well, I ran 15 miles.  And it kinda sucked.  I started out with cloudy sky’s and a little bit of drizzly rain – which was very welcomed.  I didn’t really have a route planned out but had a few options in mind.  It was either two out and backs or running around and trying to make up the miles.  I wasn’t sure if I did the first out and back if I could really head out for the second one.  I saw my ultraunner friend Jaime around mile 1 – so great to see her!  She’s a huge inspiration for me so it was nice to see her as I set out.  I took a salted caramel Gu at mile 4 and kept going up Jetton.  I ran up Jetton and back and ran into the park to refill my water bottle.  Yum.  Lukewarm water.  Yuck. I ran up Catawba to add in another mile and then back into the park again for a water bottle refill.  I considered running down Jetton again but I really hate that sidewalk and couldn’t bear to run it again.  So I carried on and figured I would just run my 1/2 mile on Nantz to get in another mile.  I hit 10.5 at the end of that mile and stopped.  I just stopped and texted Jess and Cyanne and told them I didn’t feel like running anymore.  I’d passed a garbage truck around mile 9 and the smell really did me in.  I almost yacked and since then my mouth had been watering.  Gross.  Just thinking about it again is grossing me out.  Jess reminded me of my new mantra – you are fast, you are strong, you are a marathoner.  Plus, I had to get home somehow.  I carried on and calculated that I’d need to add another mile past my turn home to get to 13 by the time I hit my turn – since I knew I had 2 miles left past my turn.  Math while running is really hard for me and I literally calculated that about 11 times during miles 8 though 11.  It helps that I know my course very well and know where I can get extra miles.  I saw Jaime at mile 13 (hey there half marathon!) and that was great for my spirits.  We talked about running together for some of my upcoming 20 milers – I’m totally excited for her support!  I carried on a hit my turn and ran into the ballpark to refill my water.  Lukewarm again.  Yuck.  I was dreaming of cold Nuun water for the last 5 miles.  I did some walking in my miles 14 and 15 – bargaining with myself and reminding myself that I can actually do this.  I argued with myself a lot on this run.  It was one of those runs where running 26.2 seems impossible and stupid.  I know those mental doubts are part of the process and that a good run is coming.
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Sunday: Planned:  Rest and Yoga
Actual:  Deep Stretch yoga.  Wow did I need this.  Every time I consider not going to yoga I get there and remember why I love it.  I always feel so much better afterwards – both physically and mentally.  I know people can find yoga intimidating (I did!) and it’s so wonderful.  Everyone should go!

Feeling good about:
Running the Diva’s Half Marathon on Saturday!  So excited to see my sister Angie for her second half marathon and my tenth!  And I totally can’t wait to meet Carrie who is running Richmond with Jess and I!
Saturday marked 3 years since I achieved my weight loss goal.  Sure, there have been ups and downs but I’m so thankful for this journey.  Running has carried my many miles but it’s also helped my stay on track with my weight.

Struggling with:
Running long.  This weekend’s race will be good – I always get energized by the race atmosphere.

Finding Speed Again. – Richmond Marathon Training Week 4

It’s been a crazy week.  Lots of stuff to deal with and that very familiar feeling of starting over.  I feel like I’m in a good place and am more grateful than ever that I have running to keep me sane and focused.  A good run solves everything and the discipline of training is welcomed.

Monday:  Planned: 3 miles
Actual:  Took a rest day because we moved the 14 miler to Sunday morning.  Much needed rest on tired legs.  My calves felt really tight so I scheduled a sports massage for later in the week.

Tuesday: Planned:  5 easy with 5 sets of 30 second sprints at hard effort, 3 min walks in between.  Strength in evening.
Actual:  Morning run went really well.  I set up my watch so that I wouldn’t have to pay attention during the sprinting miles in the middle and that worked well.  Felt great getting in some sprints in the middle of the run.  Strength didn’t happen.  It was a rough evening.

Wednesday:  Planned:  Yoga or Active Recovery
Actual:  30 minutes on the elliptical in the morning.  I wished it was a run morning because the weather was beautiful!  That evening I got a (painful!) sports massage and she really worked out the issues in my calves.  So necessary.  We also spent an hour foam rolling together which really helped.

Thursday:  Planned:  6 mile pace run with 2 easy, 2 at 10:30, 2 easy.  Strength.
Actual:  Nailed it!  This run felt amazing!  Cooler temperatures, the sports massage, and a weight off my shoulders made it awesome and enjoyable.  I started the first 2 miles and felt a little sluggish.  I’ve been reading all about mantras on blogs recently so I gave it a whirl.  I started repeating – I am strong, I am fast, I am a marathoner in my head.  I noticed my pace pick up right away!  I’m all about the positive self talk and it really helped me push at the start of my faster intervals.  It’s weird to say that the 10:30 pace scared me.  I ran a 9:59 half marathon less than a year ago – but my pace has been so much slower recently.  It was ELATED to run those miles even faster at a 10:19 and 9:50 average for miles 3 and 4. Huge confidence booster and really felt fantastic.  I also ran the last 2 miles at 11:03 and 11:59 – well under my target easy pace of 12:15-12:40.  Feeling strong on that run was huge for me.  I’ve felt so slow the past few months and I felt so good throughout the whole run.  So much fun.  Runs like that make running fun.
I had planned to go to the gym to do strength that evening and forgot my (packed) gym bag.  So I did some errands and then did some bodyweight exercises after dinner.  It probably wasn’t as good as what I would have done at the gym – but I got it done.  And then I took an Epsom salt bath.
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Friday:  Planned:  Rest.
Actual:  Rest and a high school football game.
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Saturday:  Planned: 10 miles at easy pace
Actual: The football game on Friday night went way later than I expected and I didn’t get home until around midnight.  A not-so-great dinner and a few cupcakes later I woke up around 5:45 and made my oatmeal.  I fell back asleep and then ate around 6:30 and finally made it out the door around 7 or 7:15am.  I was still pretty tired but the run went by quickly.  My later start meant I saw more runners – which is always nice.  I took a salted caramel Gu around mile 4 and planned on another at 8.  I felt good at 8 so I skipped it and carried on for my last few miles.  I ended up a little faster on pace than intended.  I was supposed to run around a 12:15 and ended up at 11:50. I felt good and strong and the pace felt good.

Sunday:  Planned: 2 miles at recovery pace, Yoga
Actual:  2 recovery miles that drraaaaggggged.  My recovery pace is about 12:40 and I ended up at 12:52.  The whole run was so blah. I’m not a fan of shorter runs and my legs were pretty tired.  I got it done thought.
I went to my favorite Deep Stretch yoga and am so glad.  I always feel so much better after that class.
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Feeling good about:
Nailing that pace run on Thursday!
Balancing training with other parts of my life
Feeling less overwhelmed by training – the schedule this time around feels so much better

Struggling with:
Need to focus on strength exercises and make that a priority
Need to focus more on nutrition and make a plan each week for dinners

Successful Long-Run Fueling – Richmond Marathon Training Week 3

Monday:  Planned: 3 miles
Actual:  3 miles right at my easy run pace.  I love that these 3 mile runs are part of my marathon training schedule this time.  It’s really helped break up the feeling of long runs and it’s so easy to get out of bed for 3 miles.

Tuesday:  Planned: 5 miles and 6×20 second strides, Strength
Actual:  5 easy miles that went a little faster than I was supposed to.  I remember feeling the run was feeling harder than it should and it was totally because I was running too fast.  So I guess that was a little bit of unplanned speedwork. The 6 sets of 20 second strides felt good.  It’s nice to get in those little bits of speed.  I was expecting heavy rain during the run but it was barely sprinkling when I started my strides.  Rain would have been welcome since it was so hot and humid.
I was supposed to go to strength after work but I met some of the girls for dinner instead.  I think the Mexican food and good conversation (barely any about running!) was just as helpful.

Wednesday:  Planned: AR or Cross Training
Actual:  Since I skipped strength yesterday I knew I needed to get up for some time on the elliptical.  30 minutes flew by and I’m glad I got sweaty.

Thursday:  Planned: 6 easy miles
Actual:  Woke up early for 6 sweaty miles.  It was super humid and hot and my hat was actually dripping by the end.  As an added bonus there was a ton of rain the night before so the greenway was flooded.  I got to run through ankle deep muddy water in the dark on the way out and then on the way home too.  Oh and I found out that the bathrooms in the ballpark are open at 6am.  Bonus.  This was our first mid week 6 miler.  After work we drove down to Charleston to meet Jess and Brian for a weekend-o-fun!

Friday:  Planned:  Rest
Actual:  Rested in the morning and then spent the day in Charleston.  It was pretty hot and steamy out so we went to the Charleston Museum and then grabbed lunch at Closed for Business.  A burger and a beer later we grabbed cupcakes at Cupcake Down South.  The skies opened up just as we headed back to our rental house.  We rested and then headed back in to town for the Pub Tour we had booked. A fun tour with a fun group and we even made some new friends from Charlotte.

Saturday:  Planned:  Moved the long run to Sunday.
Actual:  We took Skipper, Jess and Brian’s dog, to the beach and had a great time watching him play in the water and with his other doggy friends.  We headed back in to town during another rainstorm and checked out some of the houses in the Battery area before heading over to the Market.  We walked a little too much and headed over to Coast for dinner.  Yummy seafood and great atmosphere.

Sunday:  14 miles with Jess and Abby from Back to Square Zero
Actual:  14 hot and steamy miles. It was so nice of Abby to meet up with us for our long run. We had a great time chatting and running the flat greenway.  It was about 77 and 94% humidity when we started before sunrise and just got hotter as we progressed. We did an out and back to hit 8 and then refilled our water and headed back out for the final 6.  I did the wake up early and eat thing again – this time with 2 eggs and half a bagel. It was much more successful than my last attempt and I felt good.  I don’t think the fish for dinner was enough though because I was pretty hungry throughout the run. I took a Gu before we started and then 4 during the run which felt pretty good at the time. My tummy was sort of icky a few hours later though. I also took salt tablets before and during the run.  I think the were a good addition with the super hot temperatures. No tummy troubles from those either.  the run wasn’t awesome though. I don’t do well when I’m that hot (who does?) and I just felt slow. My average pace was exactly on my training plan though – which was nice to see.  It was great checking out another trail and making a new friend. Just 83 days till Richmond!

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Feeling good about:

Huge success in pre-long run fuel.  I feel much better about that plan now.

Struggling with:

Hamstring issues still.  Coach sent me some information I need to read more carefully to help with it.  It doesn’t hurt its just nagging.

And then I lost my favorite water bottle – Richmond Marathon Training Week 2

Week 2 is coming to a close and it’s starting to feel like marathon training.  So what happened this week?

Monday:  Planned:  3 miles easy
Actual:  3 easy miles.  Nothing to write home about just a little run in the morning.

Tuesday:  Planned:  5 miles easy, 6 second strides with 20 seconds jog in between and Strength
Actual:  5 miles went by quickly and easily and I got lost in some day dreams.  I had planned to run my strides on a fairly level street after my run was finished.  I put down my water bottle (which was a mistake) and did my workout.  It wasn’t as bad as I had feared and it was nice to get some speed into the morning.  And then I totally forgot to pick up my water bottle.  So it’s gone.  My favorite purple water bottle from my 1st marathon has been carried away by a bunny or some other weirdo is using it.
After work I headed down to the company gym and had our trainer put together a quick 20-30 minute workout focusing on core, legs, and butt.
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Wednesday:  Planned: Rest or Active Recovery
Actual:  I know that once my mileage gets up I may take some of these days as rest so I’ve been trying to get them as active recovery now.  I did 30 minutes on the elliptical before work.

Thursday:  Planned:  5 miles easy and Strength
Actual:  5 easy miles where I sort of accidentally picked up the pace.  Oops.  The weather was cool and I felt so good running so it happened on accident.  Oh well.
After work I headed down to the gym for another 20-30 workout focusing on core, legs, butt, and arms.  Felt really good about actually going when I didn’t really want to.
I also replaced my water bottle with an un-fun blue colored model which I’ll gift to the boyfriend and then ordered my beloved purple bottle.  But at least I have a bottle for my Saturday run.

Friday:  Planned:  Rest, Glorious Rest
Actual:  Slept in and felt amazing about it.  Planned out my run plan for Saturday morning’s scheduled 12.

Saturday:  Planned: 12 miles easy
Actual:  Saturday’s run was a bit of a doozy.  My marathon coach asked that I try waking up about 3 hours before my long runs to eat breakfast.  So I set my alarm for 3am and got up to eat a bagel, some strawberries, and a hard boiled egg.  Actually I woke up at 2:30am and thought about getting up but instead I went back to sleep and had weird dreams about eating hard boiled eggs.  Anyway.  So I ate my 3am breakfast and then went back to sleep.  I normally eat oatmeal in the mornings but I decided to follow the plan and eat the bagel.  I haven’t eaten a bagel in years.  I think it was a mistake.  I woke up at 5am and had weird stomach pains.  Strike that.  Intense stomach pains.  I couldn’t stand up.  It was some sort of issue caused – I think – by the bagel.  Too much gluten maybe?  I don’t know.  It felt terrible.  I texted Jess and moaned a little and contemplated if I was going to get my run in.  I walked around to try to wake up my stomach.  I started feeling a little better and decided to get dressed and ready to go.
I started out fine and actually felt pretty good.  It was a little later (around 6:30am) than I like to get started for a long run but the temperature wasn’t too bad.  So I started the run and felt okay.  Good actually.  I planned to run my regular 9 mile route and add miles by adding a sidestreet and figure out if I could add mileage on Catawba, I wasn’t sure if there were sidewalks or not.
So as I ran down Nantz toward Ramsey Creek Park things took a turn.  I’d never run into that park before and I had no idea where the bathrooms were.  The situation was dire and I considered going into the woods.  But – angels singing – I found the bathroom and all was well.  And I felt way better.  I ate my Triberry Gu on my walk back to the street and carried on my merry little way.  I ran up Jetton and tried to do the math on where I could turn around and still make my miles.  I don’t love running too far on Jetton because the sidewalks get uneven and you end up having to run into a neighborhood.  I also knew I didn’t want to run down Nantz again.  Why is math so hard when you’re running?  The math alone is the reason I like running the same routes over and over again.
I finally figured out that I could run to 6 and just add the mile on Catawba going towards 77.  I stopped by Jetton Park to refill my water bottle after taking my second Gu (salted caramel).  I crossed over Jetton and continued down Catawba.  Nice sidewalks, no shade, but I got in another easy mile without having to backtrack.  I hit mile 9 just as I was crossed the street at the Jetton intersection and had my last salted caramel Gu.  I knew my route had another 3 miles and was enormously proud of myself for my clever math skills.  I headed back home and was pretty happy to see that my overall pace was at 12:12 – just under my easy pace goal of 12:15-12:40.  I was surprised that I hit that pace with my stomach issues, the late start, and the heat and sun on the last part of my run.
Lesson learned:  No more bagels.  I’m going to try the 3am breakfast again – but with my beloved oatmeal.
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And then I got stung by a wasp on my hand.  And it hurt.
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Sunday:  Planned:  Yoga
Actual:  Yoga and then a lazy river pool date at Danielle’s.  Very necessary.  I’m going to miss our lazy river pool dates when summer is over.

Feeling good about:
Keeping on schedule – I even went to strength both days!
Eating pretty well
Replacing that water bottle.  Actually I find the whole thing highly annoying and I’m really irritated that I lost my original.  I hate losing things.  I hate losing something that I used for my first marathon even more.  Call me sentimental – or weird or whatever.

Struggling with:
Still having some hamstring tweaks and weird tightness in the back of my right knee (opposite of hamstring leg). The back of knee thing doesn’t happen during runs though.
Planning meals.  I need to do that.  Oh how I need to.
Bagels apparently.  Never again.
My hand still hurts from the wasp sting.  Ouch.

Let’s Do This. Richmond Marathon Training Week 1

Week 1 is in the books.  It seems strange that marathon training has started again but I am truly looking forward to toeing the start line in Richmond in just 96 days.  As I look towards this training cycle I have a few goals:

1.  Focus on strength.  During my training for RnRDC I really let this slack.  I was so tired and it seemed so easy to skip strength training.  I know now that it’s a key element to marathon training and something that can’t be skipped.  I’m also loving yoga and I know it’s building core strength and flexibility.  Both things that will help during the race.

2.  Enjoy it.  It’s really easy to get bogged down in training and forget that this is something I’m choosing to do.  I’m not an elite athlete and this is a hobby.  While it is important to give the marathon the respect it deserves, it’s also important to remember that I have other priorities as well.

3.  Build mental strength.  Jess and I ran DC together and I’m 100% certain that I couldn’t have made it without her. This time around we are running our own races and will run separately.  That will require so much more mental strength and I’m excited to cross the finish line on my own. (But I really will miss you Jess – who’s going to exchange looks with me?!)

Okay week 1 went a little something like this:

Monday:  Planned:  3 easy miles
Actual: 3 easy miles.  I’m loving the plan that my running coach built for me and am enjoying these easy pace runs.  They’re good for me mentally and my legs are grateful.

Tuesday: Planned:  5 easy miles
Actual:  5 easy miles.  I’m still building into my pace and 5 miles felt lovely. A little bit of hamstring pain on the hills but nothing concerning.

Wednesday:  Planned:  Cross Training
Actual:  45 minutes of elliptical.  I got lost in a tv show and ended up going longer than I’d planned but it felt good.  I love being able to stumble into my living room and hop on the elliptical.

Thursday: Planned:  5 easy miles
Actual:  100 days till Richmond!  Jess was here for the night so we ran 5 together in the morning.  I love running with my running bestie and we had tons to talk about.  We’re both feeling really good about training this time around and we’re both so glad we decided to work with our coach.  Having a specific training plan has really helped us balance easy runs vs tempo vs speed.  I’m hoping it will help us avoid some of the burnout we had during the last go round.
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Friday:  Planned:  Rest
Actual:  Rest.  I love sleeping in.  It’s glorious.

Saturday:  Planned:  10 miles easy
Actual:  10 miles at easy pace.  What a lovely run.  I woke up super early and go in some miles before sunrise.  I love running in the dark and was grateful to run as the sun came up.  I must have gotten out earlier than most other runners because I didn’t see anyone until mile 6.  I took 2 Gu’s – salted caramel and tri berry and my stomach felt good.  I refilled water in Jetton park around mile 6 and then made my way home.  I reflected on how important it is  – mentally – that marathon training is about a slow build on miles.  Slowly increasing miles makes them so much more manageable to tackle mentally.  After my run I made some quick breakfast and then headed up to Asheville for a super secret mission.  Loved spending time with Brooke and we had a super productive trip.
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Sunday:  Planned:  Yoga
Actual:  Deep Stretch was perfect and very needed.  The class wasn’t nearly as full as normal so we all could spread out.  I love the focus that yoga gives me and the stretching is so necessary.    And really – who doesn’t love having an hour to only focus on breathing and stretch?  It’s a great addition to my training.