Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2017 race schedule + goals

Crossing the CIM Finish Line
I've been enjoying my break from training as I recover from CIM and look forward to a better 2017. Next week I start training for the Los Angeles Marathon and also start working with Becki Spellman. I've hired Coach Bekki to help me become a stronger runner and racer in 2017. I'm very excited to see what's in store for me. 

2017 Race Schedule

Other races planned but not yet officially registered:

  • March 5 - Run through Redlands 5k
  • September 9 - Great North Run 5k (Newcastle, England-will run if don't get in half-marathon and may also run if I do get in)
  • September 10 - Great North Run 1/2 Marathon (ballot entry opens Feb 2017)
My race schedule for the first half the year is set. I may add some smaller races in February or May for fun. The second half of 2017 needs some work.

The Great North Run is the world's largest 1/2 marathon and it's a lottery entry. If I don't get in, I will need to plan another 1/2 marathon as a tune-up race for the Chicago Marathon. If that's the case, I may race the Santa Rosa 1/2 marathon (August 27) again but it all depends on our England travel schedule. I would like to race a total of four 1/2 marathons in 2017 and need to find one for November or December. Any suggestions? 

There has been some chatter about me possibly running my first 50k trail race in August. I haven't made up my mind one way or the other, but I did say I won't make a decision until after I run the LA Marathon in March. Because, really, what's 5 more miles??

My 2016 goals. 50% accomplished.
As Shalane Flanagan says, if you accomplish all 
your goals you're not reaching high enough

2017 Goals

  • Run the Chicago Marathon in 3:48. My big "A" goal for 2017. This will take a lot of work on my end (mentally, physically, emotionally). I will have to get ugly, messy and give 100% on the race course. I've never done that. Especially not for a marathon. All my other races during the year are to help me practice and fine-tune my racing skills.
  • Run a 1:45 half-marathon. A carry over from 2015 and 2016. I only truly raced one 1/2 marathon in 2016 and I want 4 opportunities to try this year. A "B" goal is to PR in the half (sub 1:47:38). 
  • Continue to build strength through weight-lifting and core work. This is what has helped me become a stronger runner in 2016. This is what helps my body handle increasing mileage. 
  • Continue to prehab regularly with rolling, stretching and Jasyoga. Add-in frequent massage and ART. This, in addition to glute work and activation, got me to the CIM start line ready to race. Since CIM, I've been rolling and stretching every day--even on days I don't run. I can't believe how good my legs feel.
  • Sleep more. Once I'm back to marathon training, I'm setting a sleep alarm to make sure I'm in bed and asleep by 9:30 pm every night. If left to my own devices, I stay up way too late for the time I need to wake up in the morning.
That's all for now. I do have some smaller general goals, like fine-tune my race day nutrition strategy, but those will progress along with my main goals. 

UPDATE (12/28/17): My word for 2017 just came to me this morning: GRIT
Digging in and embracing adversity as a motivator in pursuit of my goals. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016: Getting Ugly for the Burritos

Idaho Bird Camp: June 2016
You've got to love running. It's ugly, messy, hard as f*ck sometimes....and at the same time one of the most empowering, connecting and worthwhile pursuits I have undertaken. I started 2016 barely able to run, coming back from injury and having to rebuild my base. 2016 ended up becoming the best year of my running life (started running seriously in 2010, occasional runner before then).

Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC is hosting a Year of Running link up and I thought, well why not? So 

Eat Pray Run DC Year of Running 2016

  • Best race experience: I raced 13 times this year (lucky 13!). I liked them all for different reasons. Every race is a learning experience, which is why I like to race. Anyway, my best race experience was the St. George Marathon. It is an awesome race. The course is beautiful and breathtaking. The support and logistics are great. And it's a Saturday marathon which means I didn't have to travel back home right after the race. Of course, though, the reason it tops my list is because it is my marathon PR, I finally ran a sub-4 hour marathon AND I qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon. Crossing that finish line in that time was the hardest thing I have ever done in my running career and therefore my best race experience of 2016
  • Best run: My best run of 2016 was also one of my first runs of 2016. It was my longest run (6.4 miles) after two months of barely running and coming back from injury. We were in Manchester, England and it was my last run in England before flying home the next day. I ran round-trip from our hotel in City Centre to Old Trafford (home of Manchester United), where we were going later that day to watch United beat Swansea City. Watching Premier League soccer in England is an awesome experience and if you have the opportunity, you should definitely do it. It was fun running through the streets of Manchester before the city woke up, getting to the stadium as my goal and then running back to the hotel.
  • Best new piece of running gear: I do love my Garmin 235 with a wrist based heart rate monitor.  Not new...but I'm going to have to pick my GLUTES. Since late 2015, I've worked on activating, using and powering my push off with my glutes. With the help of regular physical therapy and my own determination, I've become a stronger runner.
  • Best running advice you've received this year: The night before a marathon eat a big dessert. Trisha Drobeck, Oiselle Haute Volée, told us this piece of advice at Idaho Bird Camp. She says it guarantees a great race. It worked for St. George!
  • Most inspirational runner: I will have to agree with Courtney, Kate Grace. She came back from injury and rocked the Olympic Trials coming in 1st place at the 800m finals (never podiuming before this). She is down to earth and she's superfan!
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: This one was easy. Crossing the finish line at St. George knowing I not only earned a huge PR, but also qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon. I don't think I every smiled so big or full crossing a marathon finish line.
  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Although the race didn't go as planned, I would repeat CIM in a heartbeat because I want to do better. The race logistics, organization and crowd support were amazing. It was the first race I've run with a large Oiselle Cowbell Corner and running in Sacramento is fun. I love running there. 
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words: Boston QUALIFIER!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Holy crap marathon, I hate and love you so much" CIM Recap

Thanks Sheena for these pictures!
Marathons suck. They hurt. I hate marathons. I don't know why I keep registering for them. I love marathons. I love them for the challenge, I love them for the sense of accomplishment and for the community and spectacle.  And I DO know why I keep registering for them: I want to get better. I want to learn from my mistakes.

And, boy, did I make mistakes with CIM. My first mistake was not sticking with my plan to make CIM my one-and-only fall marathon. It has been my goal race for 2016 when I had to defer last year and build up my strength this year. I got distracted by another marathon. I joined others from one of my local running groups to form a team to register for the St. George Marathon. I interrupted my training for CIM to taper for St. George, run it and then recover from it. This left maybe 4 weeks to get marathon ready for CIM. 

At 23.6 miles, Oiselle Cowbell Corner was amazing!!

My second mistake happened in the 2nd mile of CIM. My plan for the race was to stick with the 3:53 pace group until 20 mile or so. When the race started, it was crowded around the pace leaders and at times almost dangerous as people were running into each other. Around 2 miles, I decided to go slightly in front of the pace group to get some space. In retrospect, I should have slowed down and gone behind the pace group. Lesson learned. 

The first half of CIM is all rolling hills and rolling hills are my strength because it is all I train on. I spent the whole first half telling myself to slow down. It felt super easy and actually, it was the easiest 13.1 miles I have ever run. My splits for the first half are pretty even. The next few miles I slowed down, but not too much. It wasn't until mile 18 (that seems to be my nemesis mile mark!) that my wheels fell off and the marathon became a sufferfest. Oiselle Cowbell Corner was at 23.6 miles and knowing that kept me moving forward. Finish time-- 3:57:03

After beating myself up over my mistakes, I came to the realization that prior to this year I was unable or capable of running a sub-4 hour marathon and I did that twice! One of which was a 2018 Boston Marathon qualifying time!

Now it's time to rest and recover; to start prepping for the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon training cycle which starts December 26...

My title quote comes from a tweet by Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, pro runner for Oiselle, making her return to 26.2 after 3 years and 2 babies. She ran a strong race, coming in second and only a couple minutes off her PR!

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

{week 7} You know you're training for a marathon when...

My go-to pre-race/long run meal:
Veggie Burger + Sweet Potato Fries
There was a thread on a message board last week with the same title as this post. I responded that I think about dinner while I'm eating lunch. Under normal (read: not training for a marathon) circumstances, I think about food all the time. In the midst of marathon training I'm like Pac-Man under the influence of a Power Pill. 

I'm 11 weeks out to CIM. I have 6 weeks of base/endurance building under my belt. My longest run to-date in this training cycle has been 16 miles and I have re-acclimated myself to the mid-week semi-long runs (hello 4:20 am alarm). This week marks the start of marathon-specific training. So, yes, I think about food.

It's a little too early (even for me) to start thinking about where to eat while in Sacramento and it is probably to early to think about where I want to eat while in St. George, UT for the St. George Marathon. In 17 days. Yikes.

When I entered the lottery and was selected to race, my thought was that I would use the St. George Marathon has a training race. The week of the race I'm scheduled for a long marathon-paced run. Warm-up-->16 mile marathon-pace run-->cool-down. I've used 5k races as a scheduled tempo run before, so why not a marathon? Also, my strongest 1/2 marathons are always run after I have a few 15-16 mile runs in my training. Yeah, the more I think about this... as I get closer to race day...

...So instead I'm thinking about food and where to get it. Specifically, my pre-race meal (go-to: veggie burger and sweet potato fries + dessert) and my post-race meal (go-to: BIG burrito). I'm also thinking about where to hold an Oiselle Volée (5 of us are racing) lunch the day before and where I would like to eat breakfast the day after. So Much Food to Think About!!!

Week 7 (11 Weeks until CIM)

Total Mileage: 50 miles

Monday, September 12: Rest or Cross-train
Tuesday, September 13: 11 miles, general aerobic run
Wednesday, September 14: 5 miles, recovery run 
Thursday, September 15: 10 miles with 16 x 1 min on (at 5k-10k speed)
Friday, September 16: Rest or Cross-Train
Saturday, September 17: 18 miles long run (my longest run in a year!)
Sunday, September 18: 6 miles, recovery run

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

{week 6} No more outs

I realized last week that I am capable of running a marathon fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon (less than 3 hours 55 minutes). The only thing that will prevent me from succeeding is myself. My mind and to a lesser extent my body. 

When the going gets tough, I give up way too easy. I don't stop, I'm not a quitter. Actually I am a quitter. Just because I finish doesn't mean I didn't quit. I give myself permission to back off. I have many examples of this during many races. 

This quote from Run, Selfie, Repeat could not have come at a better time:
No more. I need to stop giving myself outs. I need to stop committing half way to a goal and then hoping it just magically happens. From this point forward, the positive self talk is happening in full force. It doesn't matter whether I realistically think I can or cannot run a BQ, I need to start believing that it's possible. I'm doing the work, I'm going 100%, why wouldn't it be possible? I'm sabotaging myself when I say that it's not going to happen so I'm making the decision not to play that game anymore.
While working on my mental stamina and the tricky little games my mind plays, I also have to be cognizant that I'm an injury-prone runner now.  To meet my goal I am going to  have to make sacrifices to ensure that I do all the non-running essentials to keep me fit: Rest, sleep, proper nutrition, yoga/stretching, pilates, physical therapy, ART/massage.

This week is the first recovery week in my training plan. I'm switching plans next week to McMillan's 12-Week Marathon Training plan. I just finished reading his You (Only Faster) book and I have determined I am a Combo-speedster, which explains why I rock track/interval workouts but tempo runs burn me out. The point of the book is that you need to tailor training plans to fit YOU. I built a  great endurance base with Advanced Marathoning and look forward to marathon-specific training over the next 10 weeks (plus 2 taper weeks).

I'm headed to Oiselle Volée Bird Camp in Aptos, CA at the end of this week. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with friends and meeting new (to me) teammates.

Week 6 (12 weeks until CIM)

Monday, September 5: Rest day
Tuesday, September 6: 8 miles with 10x100m sprints at end, general aerobic run with speed
Wednesday, September 7: 5 miles, recovery run
Thursday, September 8: Rest day (travel to Northern CA for Bird Camp)
Friday, September 9: 12 miles, long run (Bird Camp)
Saturday, September 10: Love to Move 5k race plus warm-up jog
Sunday, September 11: 8 miles, general aerobic

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

{week 5} One Minute. One.

Head Up; Wings Out
The Santa Rosa Half-Marathon.

First of all, I would like to congratulate Dani, my training partner, on her massive PR. She tucked in and did not give up!

What can I say? My nutrition was spot-on. I've been working on dialing my nutrition requirements and I think I have something in place that will help me tremendously during a marathon. I ate enough the day before, ate enough race morning and ate a gel every 5 miles. I've raced enough to know when my nutrition is off and it wasn't for this. My next test for nutrition is the St. George Marathon on October 1st (1 month + 1 day from today!). I'm using the race as a  training run for CIM (to work on pace).
How I recover

ONE MINUTE. I ran exactly one minute slower than my half-marathon PR. My official time-->1:48:38, my third fastest half-marathon. I'm kicking myself because it was all mental. I gave up too easy; I gave myself permission to slow-down. I stopped to re-tie/tighten my shoes even though I didn't really need to. After the race, my legs felt fine. Not tired. Not like I left it all on the course. Ugh. Deep breaths and move-on. Lesson learned. I've always known I need to work on my mental game. Now I KNOW I do. 
How I recover (part 2)

On the plus side, I also know I still have it in me to go fast (for me). Other than my performance, I loved the organization, the size, the post-race beer fest (Ready, Set, Growl). Santa Rosa is a fun town, home to good beer, wine and coffee. Home to great post-race breakfast burritos from El Patio (where you can get brown rice and steamed vegetables with your burrito) and Hatha yoga.

Moving On: Week 5 (13 weeks until CIM)

Monday, August 29: Rest 
Tuesday, August 30: 9 mile, general aerobic run
Wednesday, August 31: 5 miles, recovery run
Thursday, September 1: 10 miles, general aerobic run
Friday, September 2: Rest/XT
Saturday, September 3: 5 miles, recovery run
Sunday, September 4: 16 miles with 10 miles at marathon pace

On the plus side, I now have updated training pace ranges:
Easy Runs: 8:40-9:40 min/mile
Long Runs: 8:42-10:02 min/mile
Recovery Runs: 9:47-10:30 min/mile

How do you move on from races that don't go according to plan?

Hi-jinks with the Redlands Runegades at the Beer Fest

Monday, August 22, 2016

{week 4} the week I take it easy (kinda)

Ragnar Trail Appalachians was a blast!

Just a quick note...I'm currently in week 4 of training for CIM, but I am also racing the Santa Rosa 1/2 Marathon this weekend. I feel like I can race well, so I'm not following my training plan this week. 

I'll be back next week with more...

Monday, August 8, 2016

{week 2} Or the week that my schedule gets Ragnar'd

Nani is a great recovery run partner.
Lots of stopping!
So far, so good. My first week of training for CIM went well. I ran all my scheduled runs and I rested (well, didn't run) on all my scheduled rest days. This week I'm racing my 6th Ragnar Relay Race. My first Ragnar Trail. More on that below. 

Week 1 Recap

Goal Mileage: 33 miles

Monday, August 1: REST/XT Day - 30 minutes cycle class + weight-lifting

Tuesday, August 2: 8 miles with 4 miles at lactate threshold (8:02-8:31/mile)
Okay. So, 4 miles at tempo. Still trying to learn "comfortably hard" tempo pace and go by feel.

The 4 miles at tempo: 7:29; 7:39; 7:39; 7:40. 

However when you look at Grade Adjusted Pace (GAP): 8:27; 8:11; 8:09: 7:42, I was pretty much spot on my pace goals. 9.5 miles (8:34/mile avg)

Wednesday, August 3: REST/XT Day - 30 minutes cycle class + weight-lifting

Thursday, August 4: 9 miles, general aerobic (9:10-10:22/mile). I woke up crazy early to meet up with the Runegades for a 4:30 am mid-week longish run. 10.2 miles (9:12/mile avg)

Friday, August 5: REST/XT Day - 30 minutes Tabata

Saturday, August 6: 4 miles, recovery (9:10-10:22/mile). Recovery run with Nani (#dogmiles). Got to sleep in and run a little later in the morning (8 am) because it cooled down a bit from the intense heat levels we've been subjected to this summer. 4.8 miles (9:33/mile avg)

Sunday, August 7: 12 miles, medium-long (8:31-10:22/mile). The plan was to take this run easy, try to average 9:30/mile pace. My legs had a mind of their own and I think because I know this route very well, I went a *bit* faster than planned. 13.0 miles (8:39/mile average)
For Week 2 of Advanced Marathoning, I'm scheduled to run a 13 mile run with last eight at goal marathon pace. In my head I'm counting this run as that one.

Total Week 1 Mileage: 37.5 miles

Ragnar'd Schedule (Week 2: 16 weeks until CIM)

Goal Mileage: 36 miles

Because I'm running Ragnar Trail Appalachians - WV, I'm rearranging the Advanced Marathoning plan to fit the race.

Monday, August 8: REST/XT Day
Tuesday, August 9: 8 miles + speed (10 x 100 meter strides at end)
Wednesday, August 10: 5 miles, recovery
Thursday, August 11: REST Day - Fly to Pittsburgh, drive to campsite in West Virginia.
Friday, August 12: Ragnar Trail, 1st Leg (3.5 miles) & 2nd Leg (6.5 miles)
Saturday, August 13: Ragnar Trail, 3rd Leg (4.6 miles)
Sunday, August 14: 8-10 miles or whatever I need to hit mileage goal this week as everybody knows Ragnar distances on paper often don't match reality.

After Ragnar, I have a week off work for a staycation. I won't have to wake up as early for runs, but I probably still will. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Fats and Facts for Friday

4:30 am runs with run buddies
Happy Friday! I hope you've left the week behind in good places and that your weekend is filled with adventure.

1. Marathon training has started! Unlike last year, most of my runs have been with other people. I'm working on pacing and nutrition (more on that below), but I also need to up my mental game. 

I came across a great article from nymag.com: Big Goals Can Backfire. Olympians Show Us What to Focus on Instead. The theory is that sometimes when you focus on a big goal it can lead to some not-so-good outcomes. It's best to set a big goal and focus on the process. Work on nailing the workouts, nutrition and whatever steps you need to do to reach your goal. 

Healthy fats and omega-3s
2. Fats. I met with my nutritionist and although my diet is generally healthy, she recommended that I include more healthy fats. In addition to providing anti-inflammatory effects, essential fatty acids and better nutrient absorption, healthy fats will help me increase my total caloric intake(which I need as I increase training) with out adding volume. Healthy fats include: nuts, fish, eggs, avocados, coconut/olive oil and full-fat dairy products. As a child of the 80s/90s, full-fat dairy is mentally the hardest to change. I've been eating non-fat yogurt and milk since I was wee.  My target daily macro composition: 50-55% Carbs, 25-30% Fats, 20% Protein. The day before a long run, I aim for 60% (or more) Carbs. 

Tuesday tempo run made "easy" with friends
3. The Great North Run. It's the world's largest 1/2 marathon (close to 60,000 athletes!) and it takes place every September in Newcastle, England. And guess what? Paul's cousin is getting married September 2017 in London. I'm determined to run the race. Unfortunately, it's not guaranteed because you have to do a ballot entry (lottery in UK speak). The lottery opens Jan/Feb 2017 and I will be crossing my fingers that I get in! (There is an associated 5K the day before that I will run if I don't get in. The consolation prize is that Paul will run that distance with me.)  

4. Ragnar Trail Appalachians-WV. I'm getting ready to run this race with the #trailbirds, an all Oiselle Volée team. Although I've participated in many Ragnar races, this is my first trail one. I'm both excited and nervous (especially about trail running at night). I also looking forward to visiting West Virginia--another state to cross off my list!

5. Olympic Track & Field events start August 12! I'll be watching via social media because I will be camping (see #4).