Rock N Roll Raleigh Marathon Race Recap {Part 2}

In my last post I left off at the start line of the race.  I started the race feeling okay, thinking “maybe I will be able to do this thing, after all!”. I actually started with Rob (we usually don’t run together, but we were both hoping to run around a 3:50-4:00 so we started in the same corral). After standing around for 20 minutes I felt like I had to go to the bathroom again, but knew I didn’t have time. I hoped the feeling was just nerves and would go away once I started running.

earlyrace1

Miles 1-8: (9:06, 8:55, 9:06, 9:29, 9:19, 9:24, 9:52, 9:36)

My plan was to try to start out at around a 9:05 pace for the first 8 miles. That would be 20 seconds slower than marathon goal pace, so then the hope was to get down to 8:45 for the middle miles and pick up the pace for the last 8 miles. After my watch beeped at mile 1 I was really excited to see 9:06 which was exactly the pace I wanted to run.

For these miles we were in downtown Raleigh and there were alot of rolling hills. My watch was also going a little crazy- I think the satellites went in and out on some streets. Somewhere around mile 3 I realized my watch was ahead of the course. (Not sure if it was because I wasn’t running the tangents or because of the satellites.) It already felt hot, and so I tried not to worry too much about pace. I knew I was off of my plan but I wanted to run a strong race the whole time. I tried to keep a consistent effort between the uphill and downhills, and kept reminding myself not to go out too fast. I still had a loooong way to go!

Right around mile 6 I stopped for about 45 seconds to go to the bathroom (I knew I wouldn’t make it the whole race, plus I was drinking alot of water). There was no line so I ran right in and out. I had been running near Rob until that point. After I started running again we turned a corner and there was a huge hill. I tried not to look ahead because it was so intimidating. At mile 8 we split with the half marathoners, and I was definitely a little jealous at that point!

midrace

Miles 9-18: (8:59, 9:07, 9:09, 8:49, 9:02, 8:39, 9:09, 8:46, 9:20)

This was the part where I had planned to get down to 8:45. I knew my legs couldn’t handle that pace (plus a faster pace at the end) so I just did what I could. I met up with Rob again at this point because he had made a quick stop also, and I could tell he was sharing the same struggles as me. We were started the long out and back, and it was much quieter without the half marathoners. I was surprised at how much crowd support there was for this part of the race! I felt like there there were people cheering pretty much consistently throughout the whole course which was awesome.

I think my paces for these miles were a reflection of the long hills that we went up and down. Rather than the quick, rolling hills like in the beginning, now we were dealing with long, steady inclines. The sun was getting hotter and there was less shade than in the city. At mile 15 I passed Rob for the last time (and I had a feeling he was planning to slow down, because he said “good luck” as in “ill see you at the finish”). People everywhere were walking by now. Some people looked like they had heat exhaustion, and I’m not at all surprised. I kept checking in with myself to see how I was feeling, and slowed down as needed.

Miles 19-26.2 (9:41, 9:16, 9:04, 9:05, 8:55, 9:16, 8:50, 9:01, 7:29 for last .44)

There was a long climb at mile 19, but we could hear over speakers an announcer at mile 20 who was cheering on runners and calling out their numbers as they passed. She kept saying “you’re at mile 20, the hardest part is over!”. Hearing that gave me a mental boost and I was really happy to pass that 20 mile mark. However, it was far from over! We got back to downtown Raleigh and had to deal with more hills and it was hotter and sunnier (are you seeing the theme here?) I hardly saw anyone running consistently at this point. We joined back up with the half marathoners for the last 4 miles or so.

At mile 22 I started doing the math to see where I was with my time. I knew the 3:50 was not happening, but could I break 4 hours? I realized it was possible. At mile 23 I knew if I kept around a 9:00 pace I could do it. However: remember when I said that runner’s need to be good at math? All of those numbers got really confusing. I have no idea how I came up with that number but maybe it was because my watch was off, but who knows. Anyway, I kept trying to keep that 9:00 pace. I kept thinking about how bad I wanted that sub 4 and how close I was. finishturn

The hardest part of the whole race for me happened at the mile 25 mark. We had just gone up another rough hill, and I was so hot and my legs felt like they couldn’t move anymore. I knew I only had 1.2 miles to go and I really wanted to push it but I was really scared I might fall down. I tried to relax and run slower for a couple minutes until my heart rate came down. My watched beeped for mile 26 but I knew I had more than .2 to go because my watch was off. But I looked down sometime before the actual 26 mile mark and saw 3:55:40. (Spoiler: that’s not what it said). When we passed the 26.1 mark (I knew it was that distance because it the was half-marathoner’s mile 13) and looked at my watch again to see 4:00:xx……turns out my watch must have said 3:59 but I read the 9 as a 5. I was SO angry that I just sprinted to the finish and wanted to scream.

finish

finishline2 

I walked for a minute and got my medal, water, gatorade, and chocolate milk. Over the next few minutes I experienced so many different emotions. Once the frustration of not getting a sub 4 subsided, I realized what I had just accomplished- a 4 minute PR in really rough conditions, and felt proud of myself.

As I waited for Rob to finish I saw some finishers coming through and needing medical attention. I was so grateful to see Rob finish, since I was worried about how the heat could have affected him out on the course.

robfinish1

It wasn’t until much later that I learned that 2 guys in their 30s had passed away during the half-marathon. Its always so sad and scary to hear about those kinds of things happening at races. Especially hearing that they were young and healthy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those men.

Rob and I found a place to sit for about 15 minutes while we talked about the race. We headed over to the beer tent (which was like 4 blocks away from the finish!) and then headed back to the hotel (after having to walk up ANOTHER hill!). After showering, we went down the the hotel’s restaurant for food and more beer.

postracebeer

We didn’t do anything else all day- it would have been nice to see more of Raleigh but we figured we saw 26 miles of it during the race! I ended up getting 2 glasses of wine from the club lounge around 7pm and I think we were asleep by 9. We were exhausted!

I am planning to write one more post about the race, which will include some more details about the actual logistics of the race, my personal race reflections, and plans moving forward. I’m sure by then you will be totally done with reading about this race:)

What was the hardest race you have ever ran?

Which do you think makes for a harder race: heat or hills?

Rock N Roll Raleigh Marathon Race Recap {Part 1}

Since I have a lot to say about the Raleigh Marathon, I decided to break it up into more than 1 post. I am going to start by backing up to the days leading to the race. I had left off 3 days before the race, talking about my efforts to stay positive.

On Friday I left work early to go to see my chiropractor for dry needling. I really felt intense muscle spasms/twitches from some of the needles, and apparently this is a good thing (meaning its relaxing the knots in the muscle…or something like that…).

dry needling

After this fun experience, he taped up my leg.  It felt weird after (kind of like I got punched in the leg and then someone put tape all over it).

tape

It was hard to tell if my leg felt better or not, but I hoped for the best. After I left the appointment I went home and packed for the race.

racepacking

We had to leave for the airport around 6am on Saturday, so I decided against doing a 2 mile shake out run. For my previous 3 marathons, I had run 2 easy miles the day before the race. I figured I didn’t need to worry myself more if I had a crappy 2 mile run, plus I could use the extra sleep.

We got into the Raleigh airport around 9:30, and took a cab to our hotel. We were staying at the Sheraton and it was right at the start and finish line. I have never been at a better location for a race. We were able to check into our room right away, and then headed over to the expo (which was at the convention center across the street).

expo

We moved through pretty quickly after getting our bibs and t-shirts. It was a little crowded but not too bad. We decided to get our free beer bracelets at the expo, so we wouldn’t have to worry about showing our IDs or waiting in line after the race.

expo2

We grabbed lunch and found a convenient store to buy some bananas and Gatorade before heading back to the hotel. By the way, our hotel had a club lounge type thing, with free bottled water all day, snacks/fruit all day, and free breakfast. They also had hors d’oeuvres out for a couple hours in the evening and you could purchase wine for $4. The food was more like a dinner- if we weren’t planning to go out for pasta we could have filled up on that stuff!

At this point I was feeling kind of negative about the race. We kept hearing about how hot it would be, plus I was doubting how my leg would hold up. I also had a headache and my low back was bothering me. (Turns out I was PMSing, so that’s never good the day before a race…) Not to mention I had started to see some of the hills of downtown Raleigh first hand.

We spent a few hours relaxing in our hotel room and then headed to an Italian restaurant, which was about 20 steps from our hotel, called La Volta. I had a house salad, and penne with meatballs. Rob had a Caesar salad and penne with Italian sausage- he might have ordered a second serving of it- but who’s judging? Once we were nice and carbo-loaded we went back to the room and got all our stuff ready for the race. I was asleep around 8:30.

raleigh view 1 view of convention center from our hotel room- if you look closely you can see the runners lined up for the porta potties

I woke up at 4:30am feeling optimistic. We had coffee and pre-race fuel (for me- a banana and bagel with peanut butter). After getting ready and warming up a little in the room we headed downstairs to the start line around 6:40.

(First we took some pictures since we had some extra time)

robprerace2

prerace3   

My phone said the temperature was 57, and it felt chilly standing around in a tank top and shorts. The start line was so close to the entrance of our hotel and we were lined up in corral 5 by 6:50. They announced that the race would start a few minutes late to give everyone time to line up. I think the gun went off at 7:10, and I crossed the start line at 7:15. 

racestart

I’ll be back in a day or two with the rest of the recap!

What is your favorite dinner before a race? Pasta with either grilled chicken or meatballs, and salad.

Do you usually eat in the morning before the race starts? I will usually have a bagel and banana with peanut butter at least 2 hours before a half or full marathon.

How long do you usually spend at expos? I always get excited for expos but once I am there I get overwhelmed and want to leave pretty quickly. I think we were there for 20 minutes.

Remembering Boston 2013

I can’t believe its been a year already since the Boston Marathon bombings. That will go down as a day I will never forgot, even though I was hundreds of miles away. I remember hearing about the bombings and being so shocked and confused. Who would set off a bomb at a race??!

BostonStrength

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Once I had heard about it I was glued to the TV and social media, hoping for answers. I remember checking in with my friend who lives in Boston, and hearing about how crazy things were around the city. The hours to follow were awful, and I turned to running for comfort at such as horrible time.

I posted this on instagram the day after the bombings:

Running should always be this peaceful #prayforboston

I had a 10k to run the following Saturday, and at first I was worried that it may be cancelled. As that week went on I was reminded of how strong and resilient runners are. My race would go on without question, with a moment before the start dedicated to remember Boston. Other runners across the country would do the same. I ran a PR that day, giving everything I had for those who couldn’t. I was never so proud to be a runner.

While I am still preparing to write about the marathon I ran on Sunday, I couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging the events that occurred last year. By reflecting on that day I am reminded of the bigger picture when it comes to running…and life- neither should be taken for granted. I feel more motivation to reach my goals while also appreciating what I have been capable of accomplishing already.

I can tell that this upcoming Boston Marathon will be like no other. I hope that anyone who will be there- running or spectating- has an amazing time, although I am sure it will be a very emotional day for all.

Will you be at the Boston Marathon this year? If not, will be you be watching the coverage? (That’s what I’ll be doing!)

Post-Race Check-In and Leibster Award

Well, the Raleigh marathon weekend is over, and if you follow me on instagram, you may have seen how it went:

instagrampostrace

I didn’t reach my 3:50 goal, and I almost broke 4 hours but not quite. It was hot and it was a tough, hilly course. I need another day or two to gather my thoughts about it all before posting, so for now I am going to leave it at that.

Instead, I thought I would break things up for this post by answering some questions that go along with the Leibster Award.

Liebster Award

I was nominated by Lauren at Will Run For Boston a few days ago, so I am excited to share some things about myself that usually wouldn’t make it into the blog. I’ve been following Lauren’s blog for a few months and she is so inspiring! She will be running the Boston Marathon next week and I have loved following along with her training!

1.What is your favorite sport to watch on TV/in person?

I have a hard time paying attention to sports on TV, but I enjoy watching football and basketball. In person, I enjoy going to baseball games. I really enjoy watching races and I can’t wait to watch the Boston marathon coverage next week!

2. Pancakes, waffles or french toast?

Hmm this is a tough one- they’re all good! Lately I’ve been craving french toast for some reason, so I’ll go with that.

3. Do you have any interesting nicknames?

When I was in college I was given the nickname “Lily”…it’s kind of a long and embarrassing story of how it came about, but its stuck around for 10 years now.

4. What is your biggest running related goal?

My biggest goal would be to qualify for Boston, but at this point its not a realistic goal. I am working on breaking 4 hours, with my goal for 2014 of 3:50.

5. Do you run before or after work?

I prefer running before work. I am definitely a morning person!

6. What was your high school mascot?

My high school mascot was the frog…the town where I grew up was originally called “Frog Hollow” which led to the mascot.

7. Have you ever lived in another country?

I studied abroad in London when I was a junior in college. It was an amazing experience!

8. How many alarms do you set in the morning?

So I know I said above how I am a morning person, and I am, but I get really paranoid about getting up on time. I set 2 alarms on my phone and another regular alarm clock for 10 minutes later.

9. What are your top three pet peeves?

This is one of those questions that I feel like its hard to think of the answer until they happen. One is wet socks. Another is people who walk slow in front of me. That’s all I can think of right now:)

10. How do you feel about the new “Girl Meets World” show?

I didn’t even know about this until I read this question! I googled it and I’m intrigued…but I do worry it will be a big let down.

 

The Liebster Award is an online award by bloggers for bloggers. It helps to generate attention for new and upcoming bloggers, generally those with 200 followers or less.

The Liebster Award Rules

1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you

2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.

3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)

4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees

5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

My 10 nominees are…

Amy @ Miss Adventures in Running

Chrissy @ Pink Polish and Running Shoes

Lauren @ Run Salt Run

Megan @ The Skinny Life

Hannah @ Fueled by Love

Lily @ Lily Runs the World

Agata @ Boozy Runner

Ashley @Chocolate Covered Race Medals

Kristen @ Medium Roast

Janelle @ Run with no Regrets

(Hopefully none of you have already done this- I don’t remember reading it on any of your blogs, but I know its been going around for some time now!)

I’m not feeling very creative tonight, so I am going to reuse some of the questions that were already created for the Leibster award, along with a few of my own:

1. What is your favorite season and why?

2. Are you a morning or a night person?

3. What is your biggest running or fitness goal?

4. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation this week, where would you go?

5. What is your biggest running/fitness accomplishment?

6. How long have you been blogging and why did you start a blog?

7. What is one dessert that you could not live without?

8. Do you spend most of your time throughout the day sitting, standing, or a combination of both?

9. What is your favorite post-workout indulgence?

10. What time do you usually go to bed at night?

I’m looking forward to reading your responses:) Please share answers to any of these questions in the comments, too!

Staying Positive With 3 Days To Go!

Over the last few days I have been trying to get into a more positive mindset about this race. I think it was kind of therapeutic to write about my pre-race anxiety, even though it may have come off as negative and depressing.

Rob and I ordered “Spirit of the Marathon” and watched it on Sunday night while I foam rolled and drank nuun.

gettingpsyched

from Instagram

On my Monday run my leg was still bothering me, even though I took it easy and didn’t run any hills. I felt frustrated and continued to worry about how the race would go.

easy run

I went to see my chiropractor on Wednesday, and he did some ART on a spot in my quad where he said I have a huge, deep knot. He wanted to do dry needling but didn’t have time that evening (plus I had lotion on my legs and apparently you can’t do that with lotion on). So I will be going back on Friday for dry needling and to get taped. (If you have never heard of dry needling, you should look into it! I hadn’t heard of it until I started going to this office, and it cleared up my piriformis syndrome in 1 treatment after I had been to PT and 2 other chiros for a year).

thursdayrun

After the ART last night I was hopeful about my run this morning. My leg felt better, but still bothered me for half of the run and I only did 3 miles. However, it felt much better than usual throughout the rest of the day. I am crossing my fingers that it feels good enough on Sunday!

 

raceoutfit

I wanted to run in what I planned to wear on race day, but the weather this week wasn’t quite as warm as it will be in North Carolina on Sunday. I think I figured out the shorts and tank top I will wear, but I had to add a long sleeve layer on for my early morning run when it was still in the 40s. Speaking of race weather…it’s looking like it will be quite warm in North Carolina this weekend:

image

It will probably be in the mid 50s at the start and 70ish by the finish. I think the warmest weather I have run in since last October was 55 degrees. I’m not sure how my body will respond to running in those warm temperatures, but I can’t do anything about it except to make sure I stay hydrated.

I started making a list of what I will need to pack for the weekend. This is just a list of the “running-related” items.

raceweekendessentials1

Is there anything I  am forgetting?!

And one last positive thing to add: On Wednesday I signed up for this:

image

I am going to the RRCA running coaching training! I have wanted to do this for awhile but the courses fill up really fast. I got an E-mail that they added new courses, and I signed up right away! My friend has a house in Cape Cod that is really close to where the training will be, so we are making a long weekend of it! I am so excited to learn more about running and be able to help other runners to reach their goals!

What are other race essentials that I left off of the list?

Have you ever used a running coach? What did you like or not like about the experience?

Raleigh Marathon Training Week 15 and Pre-Race Anxiety

How is this race only one week away?! I don’t know where the last few weeks have gone. The first 12 weeks seemed to drag (probably because it felt like the winter would never end) and now time is passing too quickly!

Week of 3/30-4/5:

Sunday 3/30: Quick Strength for Runners Week 8 (Part 1)

Monday 3/31: 9 miles with 2 x 2 miles at HMP (8:45 pace overall), PM-Body Pump

Tuesday 4/1: 5 miles easy (9:58 pace), Quick Strength for Runners Week 8 (Part 2), PM: 30 mins yoga

running sunrise

Wednesday 4/2: Rest

Thursday 4/3: 6.12 miles with 4 at MPG (9:01 pace overall), core work

harbor sunrise

Friday 4/4: Rest, 45 minutes yoga

Saturday 4/5: 8 miles (8:28 pace), core work

prerun

long run 

Total: 28.12 miles

This week I have been pretty good about listening to my body and not overdoing it. I know that at this point it is more important to feel recovered than to squeeze in X number of miles. I have strayed pretty far from the training plan, between last week when I took 5 days off and this week (the plan had me running 34 miles). I switched things up because on Friday I felt like I needed a rest day. Also, the plan had been doing an 8 mile workout next Tuesday (400s), and this week it only had me running 4 miles on Saturday. I knew I didn’t want to do speed work 6 days before the race (even though the 800s were only at 7:45 pace, but still). So I did 8 on Saturday and next week will all be 3-4 mile runs. (Sorry if that paragraph was confusing- my point is that I am trying to focus on what will work for me and following a less-is-better approach).

Earlier today I posted my running plan for the next 7 days on Instagram:

raceweek

The way things have been going lately, it may not look like this at all. This is the most I will run…I may run less if I feel I need to cut back.

I am going to talk a little about how I am feeling about the race at this point. My feelings may change as the week goes on, and I hope to be able to check in with a few posts throughout the week. I am thinking with less training I might have a little more time to blog.

I have felt so supported by the blogging community throughout this training cycle. I have felt a connection with so many other runners trying to train through this intense, never-ending winter while walking that fine line between training enough/overtraining/injury. I know that I should be ready for this race. If you look back on my weekly training recaps, I have put in the work and the times are there. But for some reason, I am still lacking confidence.

Taper.001 Taper Is Not The End Of The World, Its The Beginning

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I am so anxious about this race, which is not too unusual for me, but this time its a little different. There is self-doubt and worry that I can usually talk myself out of. I think there are a few things going on that may be leading to this. For one, I I have openly shared my goals with the world. My blog is all about my training, and its all I talk about in “real life” too. Everyone is going to ask about the race, and I’ll be reporting back on the blog with how I did. That’s a lot of pressure!

I also feel like ever since my knee started bothering me, I have felt like I was on the borderline of injury. Not like a diagnosed specific injury, but more of a “my whole left leg is tighter than my right and feels off” type of thing. I know that the best thing for this is rest, stretching, and foam rolling. Hopefully this cutting back will help things to feel great on race day, but my crazy anxious brain is like “what if it feels terrible or worse the whole race?!”

I also feel like every time I run its a test of how my body is progressing towards being ready for the race. This week, I had a couple of great runs, and a couple of really bad runs. Those bad runs have stuck with me and made it hard to feel positive about the race.

I wanted to openly share my feelings leading up to the race, but I am working on getting into a more positive mindset. I know what I would tell someone else who was having these thoughts- so I am trying to tell myself those things. As far as my physical ability to run the marathon, I know I can do it. My chiropractor said he will tape my leg anywhere that is feeling off later this week and he promised it would make me run more efficiently than ever- whether or not that is true I need all the positivity I can get at this point so I am trying to believe him!

 

I'm a distance runner

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I have 7 days to recover, rest, stay hydrated and properly fueled, prep for race day…. and turn this pre-race anxiety into confidence.

How do you overcome self-doubt leading up to a race?

Raleigh Marathon Training Week 14 and Random Running Thoughts and Questions

Week of 3/23/14- 3/29/14

Sunday 3/23: Rest (started to feel knee pain)

Monday 3/24: Body Pump

Tuesday 3/25: Quick Strength for Runners Week 7 Part 1, 30 minutes Yoga

Wednesday 3/26: 60 Minutes Spin Class, CX Works (a 30 minute core class at my gym)

Thursday 3/27:  Quick Strength for Runners Week 7 Part 2

Friday 3/28: 3 miles easy (9:51 pace)

Saturday 3/29: 12 miles (8:36 pace)

Total: 15 miles

rain

rainy Saturday run

As you can see, I took 5 days off from running last week. Each day my knee felt a little better and by the time I tried running on Friday I had no pain. However, my hip/quad that was tight the day my knee started hurting was bothering my a little. It actually also bothered me after spinning on Wednesday, so I am kind of confused about it. However, it reminds me of how it felt around this time during my last marathon training cycle. What really confused me is it bothered me more during my easy 3 miles than on my harder 12 mile run the next day. I’m wondering if it has to do with my pace at all?

prerun

In fact, I felt really good on Saturday’s run. I’m sure all the time off that week helped alot. By the end my leg felt tight, but nothing that worried me too much.

postrun

I got a massage on Saturday afternoon, which felt amazing. My dad had a gift card to a spa that he got through work, and offered it to me a few weeks ago. Of course I jumped at the chance to get  a pre-marathon massage!

Over the past week as my mileage has gone down and my anxiety is going up, I have been coming up with many random thoughts and questions related to running. I figured I would share them and see if anyone else has thoughts about these topics.

Do you think that most people run better in a fall marathon or a spring marathon? I used to think that spring marathons were a better time of year for a race. However, I was thinking that by training through the summer heat, a fall marathon would feel easier. With a spring marathon you run the risk of training in the cold weather and then having a hot race day. (Or, you can’t train as you would like because of terrible winter weather, as many people have experienced this year).

What does “vertical oscillation” really mean for running form? I have been using the Garmin Forerunner 620 since November, and one of the things it tracks is vertical oscillation, which is how much up and down motion you have while running. The idea is that the less you move up and down the better you will be at conserving energy to move forward. This is the one area that apparently I am not on target with based on my watch. I have read that as your ground contact time improves that your vertical oscillation improves. As you can see below, I am on target with cadence and ground contact, but not vertical oscillation.

photo 3

photo 1

photo 2 

How do you really improve your resting heart race? I always feel like I wake up and my heart rate is already somewhat high. Even after a couple rest days I don’t see much improvement. I don’t track it with my heart rate monitor or anything, so maybe I should do that before I go assuming anything. During my runs it stays relatively low, so I’m not too worried, but its something I never quite understood.

I had many other thoughts this week, but none of them are coming to me right now! I can’t believe the marathon is in 11 days. It seemed so far away, and then it just snuck up on me! The plan from here on is to do everything I can to stay healthy and rested for race day.

I know I’m a little late, but how was your training last week?

Any thoughts on spring/fall marathons, heart rate, or vertical oscillation?

What do you do to get ready for a marathon?