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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

All In for Indy

Training officially kicked off this week for the Indy Monumental Marathon.  After a week of extreme sun and humidity here in NC, I'm happy that this week feels a bit more like being on vacay back in Maine...



This week consists of 60 miles, all comfy pace, but the real fun begins next week.  Training each week will consist of one "speedier" workout (long intervals, fartleks; etc.), a long run done at a specific pace depending on the week, a tempo to ingrain in me what 6:17 pace feels like, and a whole lot of super slow recovery runs.  My weekly mileage will peak at 83.  I'll focus on upper body strength and core 2x week, commit to more stretching and massaging, see Dr. Jeremy at EPC for ART and Dr. Chris at Guilford Ortho for dry needling when my foot becomes a bugger, and experiment with.......

Nutrition.  Now mind you, I ate three freezie pops after my run today, and I'm currently eating Doritos as I write this post.  I cannot and never will be someone that sacrifices one of my big loves in life:  FOOD.  However, I do know that I need to fine tune my choices to maximize energy stores while also figuring out some of my digestion issues.  My body can no longer tolerate many foods that I used to love and rely on for nutrients, i.e. bananas, cow's milk, and beef.  The latter is more likely a full-blown allergy, and I'm currently awaiting the results of an alpha-gal panel that my doctor ordered.  This would also put me at risk of lower iron/ferritin, which is crucial in endurance sports.  So, while awaiting clarity here, I'm focusing on what I can choose:  general complex carbs that will keep me fuller and burn/release slower (lots of pasta and brown rice), post-run immediate recovery (currently trying UCAN products), and cooking meals with vitamin-rich veggies (beets, spinach, chick peas, avocados; etc.).  My next step will be to improve my on-the-run choices.  While GU gels have always worked well, I can physically feel that I need more calories and electrolytes to sustain my pace/endurance.  This may simply mean I need more gels, or I may need to add something else, perhaps an energy drink (will try UCAN also).  
Side note, if you're in the Greensboro area, you must try the grits bowl at the Green Bean...grits, spinach, sweet potatoes, egg, bacon, feta cheese...hearty and delicious!


    
Above all, the most important component of this training will be perspective.  Many people have asked me:  "You've really put your goal out there.  What will you do if you don't get it?"  Ummm, I'll probably do the same thing as if I DID get it...cry.  Okay, no, just kidding.  Here's the thing...as long as you're honest with yourself and doing your best with where you are in life, that's all you can do.  Whether that means you hit your goal or not, it will be what it will be.  If I cross the finish line and fall short, but know in my heart that I did EVERYTHING I could, then I'm okay with that.  However, if in my heart I know I could have done more, then I'd probably feel regret and wonder "what if?"  I feel fortunate to have a genuine love for running; it isn't all about competing for me.  So, OTQ or not, I will keep on trucking for the sake of my happiness (and that of my family).

However, for now, I'm all in.  I want to be on that Olympic Trials start line.  I've always enjoyed working hard, but this feels different.  It feels like a ticking clock of sorts, but one that emits excitement, not nervousness.  Every workout is an opportunity to improve, not a test that I could potentially fail.

Happy Training!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Always Learning

No matter how long you’ve been running and how many races you’ve run, you learn something new about yourself every time you put yourself out there.  That is, if you let yourself.

The day you willingly admit your weaknesses, and therefore enact change to overcome them, is the day you’ll step forward to reaching your potential.

On July 4th, I ran a ~five mile race. Since Myrtle, I've kept my mileage pretty tame and threw in a few workouts to shock my legs out of endurance mode and into a little speed.  I had a few weeks where I felt really strong, then got knocked with bronchitis, which left me feeling like chewed up gum on the bottom of a smelly shoe. I knew I wanted to run this race though, so once healthy, I planned a short tempo to determine if I felt ready enough. In the middle of a nine-miler, I comfortably threw in three at a 6:08-6:01-5:57 cutdown, which gave me the confidence to race five at around 6:00 pace. So, race I would...

Two years ago, I won this race. This is where my learning begins...

*** Dude, you can't repeat history! I mean, yes, you can possibly repeat your finishing position, but if you envision and try to execute everything exactly like last time, you're most likely not considering how different the training, temperatures, and competition were, among many other factors. So yeah, I ran the exact same warmup, then got on the line with the exact same strategy in mind. I'd let all the batshit crazy pacers go out too fast, then have settled into my position between the one and two mile marks. However, when I took my first few steps, I was already considering what my post-race binge meal would be (if you're curious, I was imagining a cheesy omelette. ...with fries ...and maybe some sour watermelon gummies if I could find them). Not a good sign. It was in the 80's, hotter than the 70-degree start temps previously, and it was affecting me more than I anticipated. I hit mile one in 5:49, which was the exact split I had two years ago feeling strong, except today, I felt like pulling off at the train station alongside me and hightailing it to, sayyyy, Canada? Regardless, in my head, I was comparing too much to that previous race, still expecting it to go the exact same way, which therefore set me up for a whole lotta suck. Now that I know I succumbed to this, I will use it as a reminder for Indy, since I ran this marathon two years ago as well.

*** Oftentimes in training, I imagine myself in a head-to-head competition with someone. Yep, sure do! And of course, I always win. Duh! Ya know, I'm all tough and buff and awesome and ready to fight. Except in this race, it actually happened! And um, yeah, I ended up having my a$$ handed to me on a silver platter (well, bronze platter actually, since I finished third). For a few days after the race, I kept going back to the moment at mile four when the eventual second place finisher came up on my shoulder. The amount of cowardliness and anxiety I felt in that moment was, um, not okay. For as many times as I've excitedly played this moment in my head, it turns out I was too intimidated to go head-to-head, and I therefore just let her go, even though at that point, I physically wasn't feeling all that bad. I simply stopped focusing on my own body and more on someone else. In Indy, there is going to be a lot of women around me aiming for the same time I'm hoping to achieve. I need to remember to use them as motivation, perhaps a teammate even, but not a threat (meaning: don't. be. a. weeny).

*** Perhaps the best thing I learned on this day was how much my youngest son, Cooper, is just like me. Both boys came up with me to receive my award, and as it got quiet, Cooper looked right at the race director with a most serious face and asked, "Do you have any Doritos?"

So, yeah, I finished at about a 6:12 average pace. Pretty far off what I felt I could do and from my previous time, but meh, whatevs. A big positive that I learned from this cycle is that I definitely have the speed to run a 2:45; now it's time to peak my endurance to keep it going. Coach Hubby Mike has written my entire plan through Indy. It changes up a lot from what I'm used to, so I'm excited to get after it and overcome any other fears/weaknesses I learn about myself in the process.

Happy Running!



Saturday, June 8, 2019

Post-Myrtle-Pre-Indianapolis

Yesterday, on my way to a doctor appointment, I went to Target, which normally would be fine, except I only went to Target because it's on the same road as my doctor, and in my brain, this means that I should be going to Target.  It took me until I parked to realize that um, I was not at my correct destination.

So basically, this means that either (1) I have way too much (or maybe not enough??) going on in my brain, or (2) I go to Target wayyyyy too much.

K, so yeah, probably both.  Regardless, after that...and doing a few other dumbass things like that...this week, I realized that in order to successfully train how I want/need to for my fall marathon, I need to make some changes.  Like right now, I admitted to my husband that I needed a day away from our children.  More like two days.  Or six?  I know, this makes me sound...and feel...like a horrible mom, but to my defense...and self-justification...Mike was away this week, the kids were BATSHIT crazy (enter Scary Mommy), I have bronchitis, and I fell behind on work.  Anywho, so here I am, sitting outside Whole Foods, where I'm therapeutically blogging and just bought a bottle of elderberry to boost my immunities.  ...okay, and a bottle of wine <-- impulse buy.  Anywho, point being, I asked for help, and I'm taking a break when I know I need it.  

Okay, so rewind... After Myrtle Beach, I recovered the best I ever have after a marathon.  I took one full week off, another week of just cross-training on four days (that is, if you can even count the recliner bike as cross-training?  I mean, I even drank a latte while doing it one day), then started back with a few four to six mile runs in weeks three and four.  I've built back to a steady 60 miles/week now, feeling strong, and will officially start my marathon cycle on July 15th, where I'll climb back to 80 miles/week.  If my chest decides to not be a butthead next week and I can get a few speed workouts in before July 4th, I may do a five-mile race, but other than that, my focus is solely on the Indy Marathon.

Okay, so now...what else will I be doing to give this race a full go... 
* Sleep...  Mike and I both desperately need it, so we need to make it a goal to be in bed by 10pm.
* Nutrition...  I.e. more veggies and fruit.  More protein.  Less empty calories, particularly my fru fru coffee drinks (I had a s'mores latte this morning with whipped cream on both the top and bottom that I promised myself would only be a one-time thang mmm soooo gooood) and wine (<-- unless I become a total bitch, then I'll reinstate this one).
* Willingness to be uncomfortable...  I've sometimes altered certain workouts to make them less ScArY out of either fear of failure or not trusting myself to stick to certain paces.  Can't do that.  Must appreciate their benefits, do them as prescribed, and not be a weeny.
* Patience & flexibility... Two weeks ago on my runs, I felt so strong; this week...total suck fest.  I'm still getting in all my miles with the bronchitis (yeah yeah, doc said it was okay), but I'm keeping every day at recovery effort until it clears.  Therefore, I'm trying to be patient and flexible while not getting in the training as I'd like.  I seriously need to start practicing this in all aspects of life to in turn help my running.
* We're discussing some other stuff, like making my once-a-week rest day once every three weeks now (I'd do some light XT instead).  I think something like this can only happen if I enact some of the above first though.  Mike and I would also like to figure out how to get more time together by ourselves.  It should be easier than we're finding it, and we know it would make us both more energetic, happy, and productive.

So, there we have it.  Maybe I should go return this impulse-buy wine bottle!?  Just kidding.  Not happening.  I'm so determined to give this goal my best, yet I also need to stay grounded and enjoy life so that I can be happily present for my family, runners, and friends. 

Happy Running!


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Myrtle Beach Marathon Recap

I gotta get better at this blogging more thing.  Or maybe I don't because let's face it, it's a little narcissistic.  But if I do need to get better at it, I'm not going to say it's because I don't have time because really, none of us have "extra" time these days, right?  HOWEVER, I'm a firm believer that all of us have time for the things we see as a priority and are super passionate about.  It's like my Dad always says, "excuses are like a**holes, everybody's got one."  So true!  If you want to get something done, you'll figure out how.  Did I also mention that as the older I get, I don't know when to shut my mouth?  Ahh, shit.

K, let's start over.  So, yeah, after what I would call a shitnado of a first half of the year in 2018, I'm super jazzed to report that this year is off to a much better start.  Once I started training again in June, it took me a looooooong time to feel good again, but with a little bit of irrational crying and yelling patience, I stuck with it and knew my body would rebound sooner or later.  After all, your body doesn't forget all the work you've done in the past, and talent doesn't just disappear, so a little faith can go a long way...

My plan was to run some shorter races in the fall before going for my next marathon this spring, but I was only able to do one fall race.  Why?  My plantar decided to be a booger after that one race, so I didn't want to compromise the marathon.  It was a fun race though... the Mayberry (Mt. Airy, NC) 5K.  It was my first race of any distance in over a year and my first 5K in...omg...3.5 years.  What?  My goal was to average 5:50-5:55 pace, so when my first mile split in 5:35, I kinda felt like a giant ass ...sorta like Phoebe from "Friends" running in the park with Rachel.  All good though.  I finished in 18:37 (5:59 avg), so close enough...

   
After the 5K and letting my foot simma down (thanks to Elite Performance Chiropractic for that!), it was time to get into marathon mode.  Dude, the miles were NOT feeling easy though.  I had to dig deep into my bucket of mental power nuggets to keep myself from saying F it.  I'd be running at what I thought was cruise control for long runs, which is typically ~7:00 pace, and when I'd get done, it would say ~7:45.  Huh??  Here's the thing.  I know I'm no spring chicken anymore, and while I will NEVER use age as an excuse for why you can/cannot do things, our bodies DO change.  So, recognizing this and making the proper adaptations for it went a long way.  It now takes me much longer  to "hit my stride" from base phase to peak, to warm up into workouts, and to recover in-between workouts.  All easy adjustments though...

About halfway through this marathon cycle, my hubby/coach Mike decided to try something new.  Enter:  Hanson.  He took what I was used to doing in training and blended it with the Elite & Advanced Hanson's marathon method.  Basically, I wouldn't have down mileage weeks anymore, but I'd alternate a week with three to four workouts, followed by a week with four recovery days in a row.  We knew this wouldn't be enough time for a full cycle of it before Myrtle Beach, but I gotta say, I LOVED IT and am excited to give it a full go this fall.  I hit an 80-mile week for the first time ever, and my peak workout was a 15-mile run with eight in the middle @6:02 avg.  It was starting to click.

Race week, I was feeling relaxed.  Well, I mean, I hit the refresh button on weather.com about 7,249 times a day, but other than that, super relaxed.  We got to Myrtle on Thursday, hit up the hotel's lazy river, ate a buttload of baked ziti, got through the expo, and were ready to roll.  The start temp on race morning was a f&#*ing 61 degrees and 90-something% humidity, so that, you know, sucked monkey butt, but I was still pretty sane.  My goal for this race was to compete and aim for a 2:50ish, but most importantly, to come back and FEEL GOOD.  Seriously, after the great shitnado of 2018, running strong and happy was super important to me.  


Miles 1 to the 10K:  Ummmm, I have NEVER experienced mile markers so HORRIFICALLY misplaced in a marathon before.  I realized by mile four that this would need to be a "just run how you feel" kinda day because when you hit one split in the 5:50s and the next in the 7:00s when you didn't change your effort at all, you know that shit ain't right.  Anywho, I was running with another female and her male posse for the first five miles or so, and when a lead motorcycle appeared around mile three, I knew this meant that we were the two leaders.  Hey, cool!  At mile five, I was feeling too easy, so I picked up the pace a bit and took over the lead for good.  The 10K passed at a 6:33 avg.  Luckily, the timing mats seemed placed correctly, so this gave me an idea of where the heck I was (I don't, and never will, wear a GPS watch.  I'm all for trusting my body.).

Mmmmm fries...

Miles 10K to 13.1:  Um, so I carry my GUs in my boobs.  I have a North Face Stow-n-Go sports bra with a big ol' pocket on the front, and it's FANTASTIC.  Except for when it's not.  At mile seven, one of them suckers flew out the top of my bra.  I didn't freak until another one flew out too.  Gahh!  I decided to go back and pick one of them up but knew I'd now be down a gel (I take four on the course).  This is also where an aid station volunteer yelled "water!" and gave me gatorade instead (Double gahh!  Note...dumping gatorade on your arms is NOT AWESOME.), and I realized I was starting to dehydrate since it was humid and I had already missed another earlier water station.  Then, at mile 10ish, a MASSIVE WALL of runners cut onto the course from the boardwalk about 50 meters right in front me.  WTF??  Apparently the 5K merged at the, uh, wrong time (at least for me and the guy behind me that thought a "f*cking conference" <-- his words, not mine ...was letting out).  So yeah, for about a seven-mile span here, I was a hot mess.

Miles 13.1 to 18.3:  Logan was standing at the halfway mark (1:25:09 ... 6:30 avg) and handed me a very much needed extra gel, yay!  Except I dropped it and heard him cry, "Mommyyyyy!"  So, mommy dilemma... Do I go backwards yet again and get the gel??  Or do I keep going??  Um, I decided to keep going and therefore suck at life.  Luckily, the same guy that thought a  f*cking conference had let out went back for me, grabbed the gel, ensured my child was happy, and saved my a$$.  Faith in humanity = restored.  Around mile 14, a breeze picked up, the humidity started steadily dropping, and I was feeling good.  I crossed the 18.3 mile timing mat at a 6:29 avg.

Miles 18.3 to 26.2:  There was an annoying out-and-back at 18.3, but this enabled me to see the substantial lead I had on the next female.  Also at this point, I started to get some calf and, um, jay-jay (<---being a female sucks sometimes) cramps from the earlier humidity.  I was still feeling really strong though, and since I wasn't going for the OTQ time or anything, I kinda just cruised in from here.  At mile 25, I high-fived Logan again and saw the rest of my family (Coach Hubs, Cooper, Ginny & Charlie... who are Mike's parents that make these weekends possible by traveling and helping with our boys!).  Rounding the corner to the finish was the best finish line ever... a bunch of my Streakers lined up and high-fived me in.  Finish = 2:51:38 (6:32 avg).


Okie dokes, so let's digress into some post-race Dirty Myrtle-ness.  That night in our hotel, some dipwad pulled the fire alarm. Twice.  Do you know what it's like to have to wake up your two small sleeping children out of bed to walk them down eight flights of stairs for a false alarm?  Welp if you don't, let me tell you: it's not cool.  Oh wait, but even more not cool is when you're cleaning up your room the next morning to leave, and you find a vibrator behind the curtain,  Yeah no, you did read that correctly.  A vibrator.  Oh wait, you still don't believe me?  Here:


Aaaaand your day is now complete...

Mmk, digression over.  As are our future visits to Myrtle Beach.  So, what's next.  I plan to get a full cycle of this new training style in and attempt the OTQ standard this fall.  I have a lot of time before then, so right now is all about full recovery and hoping that my fat pants don't get too tight.  Seriously though, I purposely gain a few el bees during this time as a means of storing energy for when base phase begins again (<--or at least this is what I tell myself to justify my skittle binges).  

And now without further ado, a pictorial summary of my recent life since I know you really
care (<-- sarcasm) and probably want to get that vibrator image out of your head...

My Streakers are the best!

Experimenting with "power" foods.  Even 1% improvements matter at this point!
Pasta with beets, chick peas, and spinach!

 Some of my Thursday run group peeps! ...
Molly, the Perv, Flip Belt, Pop-a-Squat, Kinavara, Golf Cart, MRSA, and Knuckles

They also surprised me with this post-race Dirty Myrtle gift bag :D

 Fast Fab Friends, all of whom have come into my life this past year!

Cheers-ing to Elle after her Houston run!  Fun being on the OTQ journey with her!

My #1 fans cheering me on during a tempo run!

 Happy 5th Birthday, Logan!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Cooper!

 Merry Christmas!

Mmmmm Christmas trees nom nom

Cutest Hoka Ad around!



 My world!

My person!

Thanks for the fun, Dirty Myrtle!  Onward! 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Happy Fall, Y'all!

When I was young, I loved the summer.  The hotter, the better.  Then again, I grew up in Connecticut, and now that I'm older and a North Carolinian, heat has new meaning.  Now, I love the FALL.  Everything about it.  The food, apple cider, apple cider donuts, apple cider covered pretzels (<-- you know you want them, so head to Total Wine to get 'em), fall festivals at every park, library, church, winery, and brewery known to man, the food, my kids' excitement at costumes and candy, having to wear a hoodie yet still being able to wear shorts, the food, the smell of the air (<-- is that weird?), adding pumpkin to everything I bake, Halloween themed wine tastings, hurricanes (<-- just kidding, but since we've had two here, I figure I should mention), leafy designs in my coffee that I have no idea how to make myself, fire pits and s'mores, the start of Hallmark Christmas movies, the colors, the food, and most of all... 
AWESOME RUNNING WEATHER.

Finally!  I finally feel like my legs have rekindled with the rest of my body.  After my 10 weeks of no running this spring, I started back right in the thick of the heat.  It was a struggle bus.  More like an 18-wheeler.  Pulling an RV.  With an airplane on top.  I seriously don't remember it ever taking this long in base phase to feel even semi-good again.  I routinely started having the negative thoughts of, "Well, darn.  Maybe I really am getting older and slower and, well, maybe I should just run to not get fat and because I'm a bitch if I don't, and I just shouldn't worry about getting faster anymore..."  

Then it got cooler, and I smacked myself.  After all these years running, and after how often I tell my runners how the heat affects them (~:45 seconds slower on average per mile per runner at the same effort at dew points above 60), I still let it get into my head.  So, needless to say, I'm back to a point where I look forward to heading out the door every day again.  And, I'm looking forward to racing again (I actually started dreaded it).  I've committed to a spring marathon and will run one or two shorter races before the end of this year.  I capped off a 65-mile week this week and finished up with a 12-miler with 5@ 6:20 in the middle.  Then I came home and ate three pieces of bbq chicken pizza with hot apple cider and the rest of Logan's candy from a fall festival last week (<-- he just asked me what happened to it).  omg.  #winner

Anywho, if you haven't hit your stride yet in this cooler weather, hang on!  It's coming!  It takes about three to four weeks to acclimate to hot weather (and you'll still run like shit; I just mean acclimate as in your body finally gets somewhat used to it), but it also takes a good week to acclimate back to cooler weather.  So, if you went out for a run on that first cool-ish day and didn't feel great, yep, not a shocker.  Like I said, don't give up... just keep going because it will get better!

Okay, so a slight digression here.  I will say, as I do get older (I'm 38), I do feel some differences from when I was, sayyyy, 30?  No, I do not think that you cannot get faster as you get older, but we DO need to adapt to the changes in order for this to happen.  For example, I know part of my problem on top of the heat was that it just takes my body longer to respond now.   So, I decided to stay in base phase longer during this cycle to give my body the time it needed.  It also takes me longer to warm up into a run, so I have added more miles before starting any tempo work, and I also need more rest after the hard stuff, so if I'm feeling beat up, I'll take a second recovery type day afterwards instead of just one.  It's almost like my body now needs a loud-ass alarm clock before it's ready to go to work...

  So, that's all.  It's a gorgeous fall day here, and I'm about to take the kiddos next door so I can drink wine we can play, eat pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and watch football.    

Happy Fall, and Happy Running!

And now, a way-too-long pictorial of our fall so far...