I'm writing most of this post on Saturday, the day before my race, because I am sitting around with nothing else to do. After the race I'm planning to add in the results before this publishes. I feel like this week of training was kind of boring, and the actual race is the "important" part of this week, but I do think my runs this week were worth talking about. They were simple- 3 really easy 4 milers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with no strength training at all. I think that there were a few factors involved but I felt so tired on those few runs I did this week. Which made it easier to go super slow, so I guess that's a good thing!
Monday: 4 miles easy
After feeling really great on Saturday's run, I expected it was going to be difficult to keep this run nice and slow. However, I easily settled into a pace slower than 10 minute miles and actually didn't have the desire to go any faster than that.
Wednesday: 4 miles easy
The night before we had gone to my parents after work for dinner, and got home after 9. So naturally I was tired for this run (usually I am asleep by 9) and I think all the extra time in the car left me feeling extra stiff. My mindset was not great after this run, but I kept telling myself that this was normal for race week plus I had a few more days to rest up.
Friday: 4 miles easy
This was done before flying out to Tulsa. I felt 95% better than I did on Wednesday, but still kept it slow and easy. It was definitely a boost of confidence as I got closer to the race.
Went to the expo....
And hung out in compression socks for most of the day...
Sunday: Race day!
26.2 miles in 3:41:46... Race recap to come later this week, but this was a 5 minute PR!
Total: 38.2 miles
Do you ever feel tired on your runs the week leading up to a race?
I really can't believe that I am two days away from marathon #6! Four years ago this weekend was when I toed the line for my first marathon ever, the Philadelphia Marathon. Sadly, I did not blog back then so there was no documentation of my personal experience, however, my friend Alli was blogging at the time and she came with me to the race and posted about it here!
Anyway, clearly I am distracting myself from the matter at hand which is the Route 66 Marathon on Sunday. Up until yesterday I hadn't been thinking too much about it- I don't know if that was by choice or not, but I think it was a good thing because there was less time to feel nervous about it. I think at this point I have learned that there are so many things we can't control about races so it's not worth thinking too much about it.
I also think part of the reason I have been a bit more laid back is that I have had a coach to tell me exactly what to do. So instead of going back and forth in my head a million times about what to do this week, she just tells me and I listen. I started debating about what shoes to wear, and after a few minutes I just E-mailed her and she told me her recommendation. Clearly that decision should not be a source of stress but it could have gone in that direction if I let it!
These examples seem to have been the theme of my training cycle- try to keep the over-thinking to a minimum and stay focused on the basics. In a way, I never felt the same level of pressure about this training cycle/race that I did for others. When I signed up for this marathon in late July, I was feeling ready to work towards a goal and increase my mileage, but I didn't really care so much about running a marathon. I have no idea if that even makes sense, but I really just wanted to train for a marathon. When Rob signed up for Route 66 and worked it into our travel plans for visiting family next week, it made sense for me to sign up as well. But again, I wasn't feeling focused on the race.
I started training the first week in August. I immediately had to move my days around due to a thunderstorm in week 1, and worried that it would be a rough training cycle without having access to a treadmill. Then week 2 came along, and I was really sick. At the time I was worried it would interfere with my training, but now it feels like it was SO long ago. The effects of that cold lasted for a few more weeks, making the two races I ran around that time a little more difficult. Well, the Dreaded Druid Hills 10k would have probably been really tough either way, and I ended up doing well in the Charles St 12 although I still had a cough.
Then the training and the mileage picked up, and it wasn't easy getting those runs in before work every day. I took a huge step back from blogging in order to allow myself the time to train and recover and get as much sleep as I could during this time. There were some great runs and some really tough runs during this time- but it all made sense for where I was in my training cycle.
For the last 3 weeks I have tapered, and enjoyed a little more time to sleep in and do other things, but this is always a tough time for me. I want to get back on my regular workout schedule and I know that even after the marathon it will be a few weeks before I can do that. However, with Thanksgiving next week (how did that happen?) I'm sure the time will fly by.
Personally, I think one of the best parts about this training cycle was being able to remove the pressure and stress from myself. This was largely in part to having a coach, and perhaps partly because I was never overly focused on a time goal for the race. We decided before I even started training that a BQ was too big of a jump at this time (#1 goal was to avoid getting injured) so I think that alone removed the pressure I would have otherwise felt. I know I certainly trained to reach my goal time, but I already achieved so many of my other goals.
The next two days will actually be the time when I do need to start focusing on the race and thinking about what I want to achieve. While it was helpful to not worry about it for the past 16 weeks, I need to be able to focus on race day and not allow myself to give up (like I tend to do). Even though I have already reached my goals in other ways, I still want this race to be a success.
Thank you all for following along over the last 16 weeks! I couldn't imagine training for a race without blogging about it:) See you on the other side of 26.2...
How do you get mentally focused for a race?
Do you find that you typically do better in a race when you don't put as much pressure on yourself?
I feel like I can't really start this post without saying something about the attacks in Paris. However, it's also super awkward to talk about how horrible it was and then just jump into talking about my training. But when I thought about it, I realized we can't let these things stop us from going on with our lives. I feel like I have been glued to the TV all weekend so it's probably good to get my mind off of it all.
Also, you may have noticed a little face lift on the blog. I'm not sure how it happened but I had some time on Sunday and all of a sudden found myself trying new themes and then playing around with CSS coding...I have no idea what I am doing with that stuff so if you notice anything crazy please let me know! I'll blame the taper I guess:)
Anyway I can't believe it's already race week! Oddly enough, I haven't been thinking a whole lot about the race, in the way I usually do (aka stressing out about it). So I think that's a good thing. I am hoping to get some thoughts together about this training cycle later this week. But for now, let's recap last week's training.
Monday: 4 miles easy, core and hip exercises
Tuesday: 4 miles easy
Wednesday: strength training, core and hip exercises
Thursday: 10 miles with 8 at GMP (ended up being a bit faster- the taper has made such a difference in how I feel!)
Friday: 3 miles, core and hip exercises
Saturday: 10 miles
Total: 31 miles
On Saturday it was so nice to head out for "only" 10 miles. Marathon training has definitely skewed my perception of mileage! It was a bit windy, but otherwise a great day for running. I really had to work to keep this run on the slower side, because my legs wanted to move faster. My coach has reminded to keep my runs EASY this week!
Do you get the urge to run faster than you should during the taper?
Do you currently think of 10 miles has a "longer" long run or a "shorter" long run? I remember a few months ago 10 miles was the longest I had run all year...now it's often the distance of a mid-week tempo run!
Well last week was an interesting one, and I sure was glad it fell during the taper. Traveling for work can really throw a wrench in marathon training, and for those of you who do it all the time, I'm not sure how you manage it. Between working long hours, not sleeping enough, and not eating well, my running was a struggle. I only had 2 short runs on my schedule when I was there, but that meant doing my long run when I got back on Sunday, at which point I was completely exhausted. I'll take you through the week in running along with a few notes about my trip to New Orleans:)
Monday: 5 miles easy, core and hip exercises
Tuesday: AM: 9 miles with 2 mile warm up, 3 x (1 mile @ 8:30, 1 mile @ 8:10), 1 mile cool down
PM: Strength training
Wednesday: Rest day- traveled to New Orleans. I had an 8 am flight so there really wouldn't be time to squeeze in a workout. Instead I got in my strength training on Tuesday evening. We got into New Orleans pretty early and had the day to walk around and sightsee.
Thursday: Rest day- Worked 11 hours at the conference. I always enjoy attending these conferences (and I am so grateful that I get to attend- our organization holds an annual conference on advancing school mental health each year) but between working registration, moderating sessions throughout the day, and presenting at a session, I was totally beat by the time it was over. However, we were in New Orleans and wanted to take advantage so went out for dinner and drinks that evening.
Friday: 5 mile easy, and an attempt at some core work in the hotel room.
Friday was another busy day at the conference, but I didn't have to be there until 8:15 so I had time to run in the morning. After the sessions were over we had a registration/poster session that went until 7pm. All my coworkers were supposed to meet for drinks at a bar at 8:30, so the night was off to a late start.
I was out way past my bedtime, but we all had fun celebrating another successful conference.
Saturday: 4 miles easy
After a late night out on Friday night, this run was a struggle. I knew I would feel better if I got it done (which I did) but I was still so, so tired. We had a few hours of sessions on Saturday morning, but had some time to get food before our flight back. I finally made it to Cafe Du Monde for a beignet!
I got back home around 9pm on Friday night, and ended up texting my coach because I felt like there was no way I could do the prescribed run the next morning. She made some changes and told me to do the best I could.
Sunday: 16 miles with 11 at MGP
This ended up going even better than planned (I was able to do the original workout), so I was really happy about that. It probably helped that there was perfect weather Sunday morning, especially after running in New Orleans where it was 70 degrees and humid.
Total: 39 miles
Now my focus is really going to be back on taking care of myself. I feel like between the changes in temperature, lack of sleep, not eating well, and sharing a hotel room with my coworker who had a cold, I am just asking to get sick. Hopefully getting back to my normal routine will prevent that from happening.
How do you stay healthy when you are at high-risk for getting a cold?
Well at this point it's been almost 3 weeks since I ran in the Baltimore Half-Marathon. This was my 4th time doing the half, and I also ran the full in 2013. This event will always be special to me because in 2007 the Baltimore Half was my first race ever. It's also the biggest race in Baltimore where I have lived for about 14 years now. That being said, it's not an easy course! There are some tough hills, but the crowd support is amazing, especially at the finish line. The last 3 miles are mostly all downhill and during the last 1/2 mile the course takes you through Camden Yards where the sides are PACKED with spectators. I've written about the Baltimore Running Festival several times, so check out these posts if you are interested in reading more:
This year I signed up for the half-marathon as a training run, which I wanted to "race" conservatively. There is also a full marathon, 5k, and a relay, all starting at different times. The full marathon started at 8 am and then the half-marathoners joined in around mile 15. The half started at 9:45, and gets to see the marathoners run by next to us as we are lined up waiting to start.
9:45 is a late start time for me, so I didn't really know what to do with myself all morning. Rob was running both the 5k and the half, and the 5k started at 8:20. He went down to the city early and dropped stuff off at his office so he could change in between races. I headed down around 7:30 and got to the bag check area in time to see him finish the 5k- he broke 20 minutes for the first time which has been a goal of his for quite some time!
Around 9:15 I made my way over to the start line. It felt really cold out until I started warming up. It was perfect weather for racing- just below 50 degrees and slightly overcast.
As usual I got a bit boxed in during the first mile (which seems to happen no matter where I start). I was able to settle into my pace right around 8 min/miles and felt pretty good. I didn't want to go out too fast, and kept in mind the important lessons Tina shared with us a few days before this race in her post about pacing the first half of a race. I hadn't tapered at all, so my legs were a bit heavy and I did hold back a bit knowing that there was some rough hills to come.
I saw Rob at mile 3 and we ran together for a few minutes before I went ahead of him. I knew he was beat from already racing a 5k. At mile 4 a spectator was yelling "you're almost done! Just 7 miles to go!" Um, no we were not almost done, and we had 9 miles to go, not 7.
Mile 1: 8:08
Mile 2: 8:13
Mile 3: 7:38
Mile 4: 7:56
I was still holding around a 8 min pace or slightly under, but wasn't sure because my watch was way off the mile markers. At mile 9 I didn't think I was on track to PR, and figured I would just keep running at my current pace and see what happened.
Mile 5: 7:40
Mile 6: 8:04
Mile 7: 7:39
Mile 8: 7:57
Mile 9: 7:57
Around this time I went to get a gel from my FlipBelt. I was having a hard time finding the hole to pull it out though, and I heard someone behind me telling my where it was. I realized it was Rob, and he said he had been slightly behind me for a while. We ran together for a minute, and then he said he wasn't able to pick it up at the end because his legs were dead, but that I should go ahead. I started to tell him how I wasn't on track to PR, and my legs were tired, and I didn't taper...basically lots of excuses.
He gave me a quick lecture about how he doesn't want me to complain about missing a PR by 1-2 seconds again, and that I knew the course was easier from here on out, and I could easily throw down a few 7:30s if I had to. I started to try to give him some more excuses, but he just said "no talking". Tough love, I guess.
But he was right. I did have something left in the tank, and there was no reason why I couldn't go for it. After the 10 mile mark I started picking it up. I was also able to do some math and mile 11 and realized I was pretty much guaranteed a PR at that point. I kept pushing hard, and surprised myself each time my watch buzzed.
Mile 10: 7:58
Mile 11: 7:23
Mile 12: 7:27
Mile 13: 6:58
Last .1: (5:57 pace)
The energy from the crowds during the last mile was all I needed to give it that final push. When I crossed the finish line, my watch read 1:42:00 and I wondered if I had actually run a 1:41 something- it turned out I had, and my official time was 1:41:58, a PR of 1 minute and 18 seconds.
Rob finished about 2 minutes after me and I got to tell him about my big finish. I definitely psych myself out when racing, and give up on myself easily. I somehow need to find my own internal voice that can convince myself to push hard when no one else is around to say it to me.
After the race it got cold really quickly. We got some food and beers and I had checked a bag so was able to put on a sweatshirt. I was still shivering even with that on. I met up with my sister and her friend who were watching their friend run her first half, so I hung out with them while Rob went to his office to get his stuff. We stayed for maybe 30 minutes before heading home.
Part of me thinks I need to "race" more- not just do more races, but actually work towards specific race goals so I get better at the mental aspect of it all. If nothing else, I think I will be able to look back on this experience during future races and remind myself that I am often capable of more than I think, and it's worth trying to reach your goals even if it means risking failure.
Once again, I had an amazing experience at the Baltimore Running Festival. It's a challenging but manageable course, and a fun event with amazing crowd support!
Do you give up on yourself in races or on tough training runs?
Have you ever thought you couldn't PR but did anyway?
October was quite a month! I knew it would be a tough one as it involved my peak weeks of marathon training, along with a bunch of other things going on. I can't believe that we are well into fall now and the temperatures are really starting to cool off- and before we know it the holidays will be here! But I am getting ahead of myself. Let's talk about October.
-over the past several months I have basically said that I wasn't focusing on my time goals for races this year. However, this month I ran a half-marathon and managed a PR of 1:41:58. This is still a ways off from my initial goal of sub-1:40 but it definitely gave me the confidence to know I could do it with proper training and a taper.
-I have continued to focus on strength training this month which was a pretty big accomplishment considering how much running I was doing.
-I definitely slacked on reading books! This was the first month of the year that I didn't read at all- I just didn't have the time!
October 2015 Stats and Highlights
Total miles: 216...I can't even believe I just typed that! I have only hit 200 miles once or twice ever, in the midst of my Hanson's marathon training for my spring 2014 race.
Best run: The Baltimore Half-Marathon- the recap will be up one of these days:)
Favorite Non-Running Activity: For my birthday I got a TRX! I have been loving using it for strength and core work, although I feel like I haven't been able to try it out too much due to my training. Once the marathon is over I hope to use it even more!
Biggest accomplishment: Hitting such a high mileage this month! Also, just getting in all my training runs even when life got busy. I was setting my alarm for 4:30am way too often.
Set-backs and struggles: I don't think there was anything outside the normal struggles of marathon training. Some of my long runs have been tough, but that is to be expected especially in the peak weeks of training.
Things I’m looking forward to in November: I guess I'm excited for that little marathon thing I am running in 3 weeks:) We will also be visiting Rob's sister, her husband, and our niece for a few days after the race. Then we get back and its Thanksgiving!
I made it to the taper!! That feels good to say. This was a tough week, but I survived...and while it's "all downhill from here" there are still some workouts and long runs to get through. However, I think by this point I have put in most of the work so from here on out it's all about being smart and not overdoing it.
Monday: 7 miles easy, core and hip exercises
Tuesday: 10 miles: 2 mile warm up, 2 x 3 miles at 8:10 pace with 1 miles recovery between, 1 mile cool down.
On this particular day there was a cop outside my development who wouldn't let me turn down the main road. I went across the street to the other side of the development which has a hilly .8 mile loop and completed this run there. I wonder what my neighbors though of my outfit!
Wednesday: Strength training/core and hip exercises
Thursday: 7 mile easy, core and hip exercises
Friday: 10 miles with middle 8 at MGP
Saturday: 18 miles on a hilly route.
I ended up running with Rob again for my long run even though we were at home. Not sure what led us to do his but I think it was partly because his MP3 player died and I knew I would need someone to push me through this run after already having a tough week of training. I was pretty miserable most of the time- frustrated with the hills and my slower pace, and feeling like my legs didn't want to move. I was definitely glad when it was over!
Sunday: Rest/recovery- some yoga poses for the hips/hamstrings/back, foam rolling, and took an epsom salt bath
Total: 52 miles
It's a good thing it's taper time because this week is gonna be crazy. I leave for my conference in New Orleans on Wednesday morning and don't get back until Saturday evening, and I will be working long hours the whole time I am there. Hopefully I can still stay on track with my training (I definitely want to get in at least 1 run while I am there!) but I'm just not sure how it will all play out. That also means I won't be very active in the blogging world once again- although I am hoping to have another post or two scheduled for later this week. One of these days life will quiet down and I will be able to catch up on everything!
Congrats to everyone who raced this weekend!
How were your workouts last week?
Who raced this weekend? How did it go?
Do you think your neighbors judge you because of your running clothes? Ever have to lap the same area over and over?
Last weekend Rob and I took a trip to DC to celebrate our 3 year wedding anniversary a few weeks early. You would think that by living in Baltimore it would be pretty simple to get to DC which is only like 50 miles away or something, but the two cities' ridiculous amounts of traffic make it rather difficult. I'll skip all the travel details, but we ended up meeting at the metro stop near our hotel on Friday around 7:15. We stayed at the Key Bridge Marriott, which happened to be right near the MCM marathon start line! So we got to see lots of runners and even part of the race (more on that later).
We checked in to our hotel and immediately headed out for dinner. We chose Piola which was a casual Italian restaurant within walking distance from our hotel. We each started with a drink (sauvignon blanc for me, heineken for Rob) and ordered brushetta. We also shared a house salad, which didn't get documented. I ordered a pizza with arugula and grilled chicken- which was a change from my usual pre-long run fuel but I figured I wanted to try something different!
We had a little issue at our hotel with a leaking bathroom sink that involved the maintenance guys in our room until after 10pm...but we were asleep immediately after that!
On Saturday morning we woke up and got ready for our long runs. I ate a banana and two honey stinger waffles, and drank coffee.
We headed out to a trail and ran an out and back for 20 miles total. We were definitely glad when that was over!
When we got back to the hotel it was around 10:30am so I drank a chocolate milk and ate a cliff bar to begin refueling before heading out to lunch.
We went to Georgetown (just on the other side of the bridge) and went to Thunder Burger thanks to Cori's recommendation. It was the perfect post-long run meal!
Beers, sweet pita bread that was complimentary, and burgers with fries. My beer was the Rogue hazelnut brown nectar, which our waitress recommended (it wasn't on the menu).
After lunch we walked around Georgetown and eventually ended up in the GW area. We stopped at a bar for another beer, and then went to the metro to head out to my friends' house to visit with them for a bit.
They just had a baby in September, so we were excited to meet him for the first time!
We headed back to our hotel room for a quick change before going to dinner.
Our reservation was at BLT steakhouse. It was a great meal, and there was great service. The restaurant was a little dark which made it difficult to take pictures! I didn't even get a picture of my steak, but it was really good. They knew we were celebrating our anniversary so brought up champagne and petit fours at the end!
We slept later than planned on Sunday, and when we woke up it was raining. We had planned to go out and watch some of the race, but didn't make it out there in time. However, we did get to see some of it from our hotel window!
Before making the trek back to Baltimore we fueled up with breakfast (and coffee) at the hotel.
It was really nice to get away for the weekend. We both agreed that we could have easily accepted a weekend at home to relax and catch up on things, but sometimes you just need to force yourself to get away so you can relax a bit. Not that running 20 miles is "relaxing" but you know what I mean:)
When was the last time you went away for the weekend?
Do you feel weird being around a big race when you are not actually running?
Do you always eat the same things before a long run?
Another week is complete, which means there is only one big week left until the taper! This was a 50 mile week, ending with a 20 mile run that included 10 miles at marathon goal pace. Rob and I went to DC for the weekend, so we did this run on a trail. It was the perfect change of scenery for completing this tough run! We were struggling through the first 8 miles, and later realized we had gone up a long, steady incline. It made much more sense when we later looked at the elevation map!
But I' getting ahead of myself- let's take a look at how the week looked overall.
Monday: 7 mile easy, hip and core exercises
Tuesday: 9 miles with 7 at MGP
Wednesday: strength training, hip and core exercises
Thursday: 7 miles easy
Friday: 7 miles easy
Saturday: 20 miles with 10 total at MGP
Total: 50 miles
I'm at the point where I am trying to take my own advice from those tips for the peak weeks. It's definitely been all about taking it one day at a time and cutting back on other things! Just a few more weeks to go now!
How were your workouts last week?
Have you ever been on a run where you didn't realize you were going up a hill but knew it felt harder than it should?
Anyone else looking forward to daylight savings time?
I had every intention of having my Baltimore Half recap up yesterday, but never got around to writing it. And then when I finally sat down to blog I realized I had a million other things on my mind and it would be too hard to think back on the race. And what better way to blog when your brain is all over the place than by thinking out loud?
I am realizing that when I don't blog every day it's much harder to sit down and write when I do have the time. It's like when a few days have passed I feel like I have a million things that have happened in that time, but writing those things wouldn't necessarily go along with the topic I am sitting down to write about. Does that make sense? Or happen to anyone else?
But really, lately I feel like my life is a never-ending cycle of running, working, sleeping, and laundry. Like seriously, two runners training for a marathon make for piles and piles of laundry. We have a nice big washer in our new house that can fit lots of clothes but who wants to fold all of that at once? It's like a workout in itself, so I like to do it in smaller batches.
One thing that happens when I get busy (which also interferes with my blogging) is that I get SO easily distracted. For example, as I was trying to write this post I got an E-mail about an online sale and decided to click over and check it out. I never shop impulsively, and I knew I wouldn't buy anything, so after about two minutes I realized I was wasting my time and told myself to get focused.
Ok, so back to whatever I was saying, which I don't even remember at this point. Maybe I will get that race recap up before my full marathon which is only 31 days away. (??!!!)
The next few weeks are gonna be pretty busy- but all good stuff! We decided to go to DC this upcoming weekend (thanks for all the tips!) and after we booked the trip we realized it was MCM weekend! We are actually staying near the start line so hopefully we can go cheer for a bit on Sunday morning.
I also have a work trip to New Orleans in 2 weeks! If you have to travel for work, you might as well go somewhere fun, right?
And that's pretty much what's going on around here! My apologies if this post is impossible to follow, it truly represents how my mind has been working lately:)
Thanks for reading (if you managed to make it through) and thanks as always to Amanda for hosting!
Do you find it easier to focus on your blogging when you blog every day or more sporadically?
Have you ever been to New Orleans? (I went once in 2005 when I was a senior in college!)