Monday, November 28, 2016

CIM Race Week

My overall goal for CIM is to run a strong and consistent race. In order to do that, I need to reign in my speed in the early part of the race so I can avoid the marathon death march at the end of the race. Pacing is not my strong point (and why I've hired a coach for 2017). My plan is to tuck in with the 3:53 (~8:53/mi) pace group leaders and let them do the thinking for at least the first half, if not more. I don't want to run faster than 8:35 (unless it is the last couple miles-- and if that's the case, at the end of the marathon, it will be an early Christmas miracle). I want to stay in the 8:45-9:00/mi pace range for 90% of the race. 

  • 'A' Goal -->Finish 3:50 or faster
  • 'B' Goal -->PR (sub 3:52:14)
  • 'C' Goal -->Finish strong and have fun
I feel as if I will still be chasing my 'A' goal next year--never felt fully recovered from St. George 26.2--and that's okay. Part of me is hoping for race magic to kick in and for miracles to happen. The realist in me knows I already drank from that well for St. George, but as the great Kara Goucher says, Always believe.

In addition to the race, I'm super excited that Oiselle Volée will have large presence. Twenty-seven of us are racing and a bunch more will be at mile 22 for cowbell corner. There will be other team activities, such as shakeout runs, Friday night dinner and post-race brunch. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

If I'm going to walk on thin ice...

As the November 13th deadline for deferring CIM came and went I wondered if I have what it takes to run race another marathon. Week after week, I've been grinding out double digit runs before work and increasingly longer runs on the weekends. I'm tired. I know that's the point of marathon training. Although CIM will be my 5th marathon, it's my first time following a marathon-specific plan to completion (although, not exactly because I had a taper and recovery for St. George).

Since St. George, my legs don't have speed, but they certainly have stamina and I have no doubt that I will be able to cross the finish line in Sacramento.

I'm 17 days out from the marathon I've worked all year for. The marathon that I have spent hours in physical therapy, strength training, yoga/pilates not to mention hours and hours running. I have one 20 mile run this weekend and then my taper starts. I'm looking forward to the 3 weeks of rest/recovery post-CIM.

CIM Training Week 14 & 15 Recap: Lots and lots of miles with some trail racing thrown in. Week 14 included my second 20 mile run of this training cycle (not counting St. George 26.2) and Week 15 included 22+ miles on trails as part of the Oiselle Trail Birds Ragnar Los Coyotes team. Week 15 was also my second 50 mile week. I never quite reached the 55 mile week as designed with the plan but I think for my current state of fitness and my goal to not get injured, 50 miles is good. 

Ragnar Trail Los Coyotes was an insanely difficult course and we came in 2nd for our division (female/open) and 4th female team overall, making it in the top 50 teams. If you are not familiar with Ragnar Trail, the race consists of 3 loops (green, yellow, red) and each runner on an 8-person team runs each loop once. This was Ragnar's first year at this location and I don't think the organizers realized how long it would take participants to finish the course. A lot of teams either had to double up runs or didn't complete by the 6pm cut off time. We were down a runner (some of us ran a 4th loop) and we finished the race in 27h:41m:03s

Week 16:

Monday, November 14: Rest/XT
Tuesday, November 15: 9 miles, general aerobic
Wednesday, November 16: 5 miles, recovery
Thursday, November 17: 11 miles, medium-long
Friday, November 18: Rest/XT
Saturday, November 19: 5 miles, recovery
Sunday, November 20: 20 miles, long

Goal Mileage: 50 miles 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Seriously?! I'm running another marathon next month?!

I'm currently in the throes of my peak mileage weeks of CIM training, which means I alternate between feeling overwhelmed/exhausted and exhilarated/strong. It means one day I'm checking when the deferral period ends (November 13) and the next day, feeling super strong, I'm registering for future marathons (2017 LA Marathon-3rd time's a charm!). It means counting down the days until Monday, December 5th which marks the start of my planned 3-week running break/recovery (very excited). 

CIM Training Week 13 Recap:
  • Monday, 10/24 - Rest or XT day. 30 minutes cycle class + weight-lifting (upper body)
  • Tuesday, 10/25 - 12.6 miles, general aerobic run. There's something empowering about busting out a 12 mile run before work. Felt good throughout the run. A little tired towards the end, but no bonking. 9:13/mile avg pace
  • Wednesday, 10/26 - 5.1 miles, recovery run. Legs felt a lot better than last week's recovery run. I've also been working on getting more sleep. I'm now consistently getting 6 1/2 hours of sleep (sometimes more!). As someone who was generally getting only 5 hours, this is a big improvement. 9:25/mile avg pace.
  • Thursday, 10/27 - 9.5 miles with 5 miles tempo run. This run was horrible, horribly hard. It wore me out for the whole day and wore out my hips and glutes. This run motivated me to finally hire a running coach to help me with pacing. My avg pace for the 5 miles at tempo was 7:57/mile (target pace 7:55-8:11/mile). Although I hit my goal pace, it sucked. 8:41/mile avg pace.
    my watch now thinks I can run
    a fast marathon; new BHAG-->
    run what my watch thinks I can
    (all other times spot on)
  • Friday, 10/28 - 3.2 miles, recovery run. Left hip/side pain from the tempo run the day before. 9:50/mile avg pace
  • Saturday, 10/29 - 8 miles with speed (10 x 100 meters) My left hip/hip flexor was still bothering me from Thursday's run so I {smartly} opted out of Saturday's scheduled run. It was a hard decision. I kept changing my mind. I even got dressed, laced up my shoes and started running. Before I reached the end of the block, I knew it would be best not to run that day. Instead I went back to my basic PT prescribed glute exercises, Oiselle's Dozen, and walked the dog to coffee. 
  • Sunday, 10/30 - 17.0 miles, long run. It was a great decision to not run the day before, because I woke up feeling great. So much so, that I ran hills. Lots of hills! My run was point to point and pretty much all up hill. Felt strong throughout and pretty happy with my pace. 10:01/mile avg pace.
Goal Mileage: 55 miles
Total Mileage: 47.5 miles

Week 14 (or the week it peaks!):
  • Monday, 10/31 - Rest or XT
  • Tuesday, 11/1 - 14 miles, general aerobic run
  • Wednesday, 11/2 - 5 miles, recovery run
  • Thursday, 11/3 - 11 miles with 4 x1200 intervals, VO2 max
  • Friday, 11/4 - Rest or XT
  • Saturday, 11/5 - 20 miles, long run
  • Sunday, 11/6 - 5 miles, recovery run
Goal Mileage: 55 miles

Monday, October 24, 2016

Five (5!) Weeks until CIM

Should I recap my previous week or lay out my plans for this week? Both? Okay, let's do it. Last week was {on paper} the 12th week of training for CIM. Although with one taper week and two recovery weeks for St. George, my training has not been continuous. 

After two lower mileage weeks, I was ready to jump right back into marathon training. I'm following Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning plan for running two marathons 8 or 10 weeks apart (St. George and CIM are 9 weeks apart). 

CIM Training Week 12 Recap:

  • Monday, 10/17 - Rest or XT day. I ran a easy 1 mile warm-up before a cycle class and weight-lifting.
  • Tuesday, 10/18 - 9.0 miles, general aerobic run . Back to mid-week longish runs. I love these runs. These runs make me a stronger runner. Consistency and increasing mileage are key. They almost make waking up at 4:20 am worth it. I kept the pace slow & steady and I felt strong all the way to the end (or coffee, which really is the end). 9:48/mile average pace.
  • Wednesday, 10/19 - 5.0 miles, recovery run. This run felt super hard and both my legs and mind were very tired. How will I ever be able to run a marathon in a few weeks? was a constant thought during my run. In th evening, I saw my sports physical therapist for my monthly run-specific power, balance and strength conditioning. 10:01/mile average
  • Thursday, 10/20 - 9.6 miles with speed (8 x 100 meters). My legs were not feeling this run. I was able to run my sprints at a good pace, but the rest of the miles nope. My legs were not cooperating-which is the norm when I have PT the night before. 9:29/mile average
  • Friday, 10/21 - Rest or XT day. Fridays always start with a 30 minute tabata style class and since I had the day off from work I also took a pilates class and a TRX class. I also had an appointment with my sports chiropractor for ART. 
  • Saturday, 10/22 - 13.1 miles, long run. I was nervous about this run because it was my longest run since St. George and I was running it in a new location with out a specific route. Also, with the way my legs had been feeling earlier in the week, I wasn't sure my legs could handle the distance. It turns out, I had nothing to be worried about. The run went great and I felt strong throughout. Also, I ran it in 1:59:39. When I run 13.1 miles I always challenge myself to run it in less than 2 hours. 9:08/mile average. 
  • Sunday, 10/23 - 4.3 miles, recovery run. Super fun Oiselle Volée gtg at Green Flash Brewery for Hoppy Yoga (yoga + beer). A group of us met early to get a short run in before getting bendy. My legs felt great and I was able to get some speed. 9:01/mile average.
Total Mileage: 42. 1 miles

Week 13 (or the week it gets serious again):
  • Monday, 10/24 - Rest or XT
  • Tuesday, 10/25 - 12 miles, general aerobic run
  • Wednesday, 10/26 - 5 miles, recovery run
  • Thursday, 10/27 - 9 miles with 5 miles tempo run
  • Friday, 10/28 - 4 miles, recovery run
  • Saturday, 10/29 - 8 miles with speed (10 x 100 meters)
  • Sunday, 10/30 - 17 miles, long run
Goal Mileage: 55 miles

Friday, October 14, 2016

St. George Marathon + Recovery

Good News: Marathons are not my nemesis distance anymore. They are still bloody hard and I will still like to train for and run a strong marathon. 

Great News: I ran my fastest marathon by almost 32 minutes, ran a sub-4 hour marathon AND I qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon. 

It's taken me a while to write this post because I still have mixed emotions about the St. George Marathon which I ran on October 1st. My original purpose for running it was to use it as a training run for CIM which is my goal race and I ended up accidentally BQing. And this is why I have mixed emotions.  

I'm not 45 yet, but will be by April 16, 2018

About 3 weeks before St. George, I realized I aged into a new category to qualify for Boston Marathon and the qualifying standard was something that was definitely achievable based on my ability and fitness. My previous marathon PR was not indicative of my fitness. It was a bad race. 

Anyway, I went into St. George under-trained. I only completed 9 weeks of training for CIM at that point (with one week taper for St. George). I only had one 20 mile long run (2 weeks prior), one 16 mile, and maybe a couple of 15 miles. That was it for my long runs. 

The St. George course is a net downhill course but in actuality it is mostly rolling hills and some very long steep uphills (I drove the course the day before, which helped me decide my strategy). My strategy was to not push myself the first half, take it easy going up the hills and to save myself for the 2nd half. I'm a great downhill runner, so I knew I could be speedy without pushing myself. It was a great strategy which worked until about 18 miles where my legs said they had enough. That this was the distance they had trained for. (My average pace for the first 30k was 8:28/mile and my average pace for the last 12k was 9:30/mile). 

It was hard. I struggled. Yet, it almost feels like it was too easy to BQ. It wasn't something I had to work and train for months/years. It wasn't something I attempted to do and fail multiple times before accomplishing it. So, I feel guilty. Many of my running friends work on this goal for months if not years, hire coaches and race their hearts out multiple times before BQing. All I did was get old(er). Hmmm. 

My previous BQ standard of 3:45 would be a struggle and is not within my current fitness and ability. Maybe that should be my BHAG goal?

Anyway, I'm using 2 weeks to recover from St. George and will hop back into training for CIM next week. My legs feel great and my current 'A' goal for CIM is 3:50 and my 'B' goal is to PR and my 'C' goal is to finish and have fun. 

(Yikes! 51 days until CIM...)

Monday, September 26, 2016

{week 9} Taper Crazies and Marathon Freak-Out

Or the week in which I take a break from CIM training to run a practice marathon and...

  • Feel moody because I'm not running as much
  • Drive my friends bonkers by discussing my night-before meal and available choices for it in St. George, UT ad nauseam (veggie burger + sweet potato fries)
  • Experience phantom pains all over my body: Is my elbow injured
  • Review blog post after blog post about the race, the Veyo Hill and about how there is no beer at the finish line
  • Decide on a pacing strategy, change my mind and then change my mind back.
  • Read Surviving the Marathon Freak-Out in one-sitting during my lunch break

It seemed like a good idea way back when I entered the lottery for the St. George Marathon. I'll use it as a training run! I'll practice my pacing and nutrition. Now that race week is here, hmmm, not so sure. I'm going with it.

Week 9 (9 weeks to CIM)

Monday, September 26: Rest Day
Tuesday, September 27: 8 miles + speed
Wednesday, September 28: 5 miles, easy
Thursday, September 29: 6 miles, easy
Friday, September 30: 3 miles, shakeout
Saturday, October 1: 26.2 miles, (at least 16 miles goal marathon pace)
Sunday, October 2: REST

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

{week 8} Thank you legs (and butt)

I made it through last week without injury. It was the week I was holding my breath and crossing my fingers to stay healthy and strong. It was this same week last year as I trained for CIM that my injury--severe IT band--reared its ugly head and set me on a course to DNS the Long Beach 1/2 Marathon and defer my CIM registration to this year. 

Of course, I was the typical stubborn runner and kept running another two weeks. Which made it worse, true, but it also made me seek treatment in the form of sports physical therapy (Wendy, you have no butt!) to address my imbalances that caused the injury in the first place. I've become a stronger runner because of my injury. 

Last Saturday, my long run was scheduled for 18 miles--my longest run to-date in this training cycle and my longest run in a year. I miscalculated my route and reached 18 miles about 2 miles from the coffee shop near my home and my finish point. I decided to run those extra 2 miles because it felt easier than stopping and walking. I felt strong. My pre-run and during run nutrition was spot-on. I was well-hydrated. My pacing was good. The last few miles were not a death march. As much as a 20 mile run can feel easy, this run felt easy. 

It was great confidence-boosting run and I feel ready to run St. George Marathon (as a training run) in 10 days. And I know I will feel more ready to run a strong CIM in December. Thank you legs and butt!

Week 8 (10 weeks until CIM)

Total Mileage: 50 miles

Monday, September 19: Rest/XT
Tuesday, September 20: 8 miles with 3 miles tempo run
Wednesday, September 21: 6 miles recovery run
Thursday, September 22: 8 miles with 8 x 2 min at 5k pace
Friday, September 23: 8 miles easy run
Saturday, September 24: 15 miles long run
Sunday, September 25: 6 miles recovery run